Monday, February 2, 2009

Joyful Martyrs: Part I

A great tendency of human nature is the expectation that things really should be easier than they are. This leaning of our hearts is only made worse by the constant bombardment from the media telling us that our lives are hard and if we buy what they are selling then our lives will be easier. The current economic crisis gives a case study in this perspective. Every news story has as it's basic presupposition that we all deserve to be wealthy, well-fed, and happy. This assumption is so ingrained in our thinking that it is rarely challenged.

Christians should know better. Our Teacher's life was most certainly not easy. We are called to a daily death. (Luke 9:23) We are to embrace this death as our Lord embraced His for our sakes, that is we are to embrace this death with joy. (Hebrews 12:2) We are to pour ourselves out for others, whether that is children, spouses, flocks, or neighbors. As believers we should expect things to be hard. But this is not enough. If we look at the difficult things as burdens that we are supposed to bear, like melancholy martyrs led to the stake, then we have missed the Gospel. The Gospel says that to die is to live and to be poured out is to be gathered back up again. This means the difficulties of life are not burdens, but rather treasures to be relished with gladness. Therefore, when Christ calls us to our daily stake let us go with singing and joy remembering that our labor is not in vain in the Lord. (I Cor. 15:58)

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8