WILLING TO GIVE THEIR LIVES
They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
Within overcomers is the ultimate secret of victory that destroys any consideration for reputation, safety, comfort or freedom. They make themselves a willing self-offering patterned on Christ’s own life—a repeated message in the gospels. Not just martyrdom, but loyalty to Jesus ahead of comfort, safety, and security.
In March 2007, a co-worker had the joy of training a group of Arab Christians who were preparing for an outreach to various Muslim countries in North Africa. His teaching focused on bringing glory to God and also on a biblical understanding of opposition, persecution, hardship and possible martyrdom. The students ended the week with a declaration, as they stood up one by one, committing themselves to live to the glory of God. They declared to live a life to be forgotten so that Christ can be remembered.
A month later two outreach teams from the school traveled to Sudan. One team was sent to the Juba Mountains in partnership with a local church. The team was staying in a village and went out to a rural area to show the JESUS Film. While they were traveling in a truck back to the village at about 10:30 pm, they were ambushed by armed gunmen. The truck driver drove away as quickly as possible, but a number of Sudanese and Egyptians on the truck were wounded in the shooting. Three Sudanese and one Egyptian were killed.
They first drove franticly to the nearest town looking for a clinic to tend to the wounded and the dead. With no facilities or medicine there, they then had to drive a further five hours to the nearest hospital for help. The darkness and hopelessness turned the journey into an eternity. The questions, the fear and yet the serenity of it all made it seem surreal. When they finally reached the hospital it was too late for Daniel, one of the wounded Egyptians. Daniel died in the arms of one of the leaders. His last words to his faithful friend reflected the words of his commitment to his beloved Saviour: “Tell my father that I died for the glory of Jesus.”
Two years later, our co-worker trained another group who were again on their way to Sudan. The group committed themselves to go back to the very region of the traumatic event, not despite the tragedy but because of the tragedy.
Our co-worker concluded, “I realized anew that the battle is real but also that victory only belongs to those who participate. So often I hear Christians say ‘we are more than conquerors!’ You can only say that if you are part of the battle.”
When martyrs meet torture and death without fear, they demonstrate power over Satan’s attempts to try and control us by fear. Evil is defeated because it cannot ultimately win. Then you are an overcomer!
RESPONSE: Today I recommit myself to live a life to be forgotten so that Christ can be remembered.
PRAYER: Jesus I adore You; lay my life before You; how I love You.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.