A thought hit me as I prayed this morning: “have I also denied my Lord?”
In my mind’s eye I saw a dark, cold dungeon. The air was filled with the putrid stench of rotting flesh and rats. In the corner of one cell sat a large figure hunched over, eyes closed and lips moving in prayer. His body bore wounds that told of many beatings, some fresh and some reopened.
He sat there and prayed for his persecutors, his family, his church, and begging God for strength to endure to the end. His persecutors had beaten him time and again telling him that he had but only renounce his faith and he could be set free. They told him he could even continue to worship his God if he only said the words of denial and would no more preach. To merely let him go would mean he would be free to share his faith and many would believe as before. And whenever they killed the “Christ followers” twenty more would spring up in his place because of his martyrdom. But if he relented, if he gave in and denied his faith then no one would believe or respect him after that.
However this man was unwavering in his devotion to God. He would not be silent. He would not be ashamed or afraid of what man would do to him. He would continue to share the Gospel with all those he came in contact with. He would never deny his Lord.
But it got me thinking… I wonder… Have we done that which we would never dream? Have we–have I denied my Lord?
I imagine often of persecution, imprisonment, and even death for the sake of Christ. Something much like someone holding a gun to my head and asking “Will you say you deny Christ and never evangelize again?” I look them in the eye and say with a resolute passion, “no, I could never and will never deny my Lord.” (and then they pull the trigger…? I just hope that if persecution does break out here in America that I will be seen as a threat).
But perhaps our culture has already played the part of the persecutor and has beaten and threatened us until we no more share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We’re scared. We’re ashamed. It’s uncomfortable. I myself succumb to those lies and fears.
We’ve never verbally denied our Lord, but just the same we’ve kept our faith secret and silent, content to just blend into this world. Silently we have called the things of this world our lord and forsaken our First Love. If the world or the culture can get us to be silent and blend in then they’ve won – to them it is better then just killing us off because we will only seem weak and ineffective. And the truth is, that if we Christians are living according to God’s Word then either the culture will change or crosses will be erected.
I guess what I’m trying to communicate here is that our silence is denial. Denial of our Lord, denial of the Great Commission He has given us to fulfill.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:18-20
My heart aches to know that within the past few weeks I’ve been in conversations where it led to planting seeds about the Lord, but I chose not to because I simply wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t looking for ways that I could plant Gospel seeds, and when the situation arose I found it more convenient to remain silent on the topic. I don’t want to live as one that has denied the Lord. I want to live boldly and to lovingly proclaim the Gospel to others. I will not hide my light under a bushel, but put it on a candlestick.
Come Christian, you are called to be a light to the world – not to imitate the darkness. To shine forth with the radiant Gospel of Jesus Christ. Oh let us not deny Him in spirit! Let us call Jesus Lord and let our walk be self-evident to that fact.