You may have heard or read the testimony of Rachel Scott. (She’s the girl from Rachel’s Tears). On April 20th 1999, two disillusioned young men went on a killing spree at her school, Columbine High School, Colorado. They held a gun to her head and asked if she believed in God. Knowing that if she answered yes she would be killed she replied “Yes, I believe in God.” With that refusal to deny her beliefs she was killed.
I have read Rachel’s Tears, and also heard her dad speak about it, and the impact it has had on the world. It is a really moving example of how God has used tragedy to work in the lives of many people, but also a really challenging testimony. Because the question is, if that had been your school/college/uni/work, and that was you with the gun to your head, what would the response have been?
In Mark 8:38 Jesus says: “If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Hopefully having a gun to our head and being asked if we believe in God won’t become a reality for you, however there will be times when we are asked if we believe in God/have the opportunity to say we believe in God surrounded by people who are going to persecute us in some way or another if we say ‘yes’ – be it mocking, abuse, being cut off, whatever.
At times like that, when we know people will mock us, ridicule us or end up totally ignoring us, the devil is very quick to suggest a solution – “Just say no, you can ask for forgiveness later.”
However in Hebrews 6:4-8 we are warned “Once people have seen the light, gotten a taste of heaven and been part of the work of the Holy Spirit, once they’ve personally experienced the sheer goodness of God’s Word and the powers breaking in on us-if then they turn their backs on it, washing their hands of the whole thing, well, they can’t start over as if nothing happened. That’s impossible. Why, they’ve re-crucified Jesus! They’ve repudiated him in public! Parched ground that soaks up the rain and then produces an abundance of carrots and corn for its gardener gets God’s “Well done!” But if it produces weeds and thistles, it’s more likely to get cussed out. Fields like that are burned, not harvested.” (The Message)
The devil wants us to deny God, and if we do we are serving him. Jesus warns us that we cannot serve two masters – we can not serve both God and Satan. We need to have the faith to speak out about our faith any time we get the chance. We need to refuse to stay silent when the opportunity arises to bring God into conversation. We need to stand firm regardless of the consequences.
And when we stand firm through persecution it impacts other people’s lives, showing non-Christians how certain we are in God’s existence, and offering encouragement to fellow Christians. For hundreds of examples of this happening throughout history you just need to read the book ‘Jesus Freaks’ to see testimony after testimony of people who have been martyred for their faith.
Being a martyr doesn’t have to mean losing your life. The Oxford dictionary definition is a ‘person who undergoes death or suffering for his or her beliefs.” We will all face suffering to some degree for our beliefs, and so we need to prepare to make sure that in that we do not deny God. We need to work at building up faith now so that when the storms come we will be able to stand firm.
There is more to denying God than simply saying “I don’t believe”. There’s changing the subject when conversation gets round to Him. Keeping quite when people use His name in vain or make blasphemous comments. And then there’s being afraid to tell people about what He has done for us. Is your popularity so important that you would rather keep it than tell your friends about Jesus? If we are to be the generation that seeks God’s face we need to be unashamed to speak out and we need to have the faith to be willing to endure anything to advance the Kingdom of God, to bring healing to our land.
As the DC Talk song Jesus Freak goes:
What will people think
When they hear that I’m a Jesus freak
What will people do when they find that its true
I don’t really care if they label me a Jesus freak
There ain’t no disguising the truth
Today, pledge to be totally unashamed of the gospel, and make the most of every opportunity to speak out for God.