ASHAMED OF BEING A CHRISTIAN?
By: James J. Jackson
It becomes clearer each day that Satan is very busy trying to hold back the work of the Christian church. Many members of the major media and leading social personalities have succeeded in demonizing Christianity by ridiculing the so-called 'Christian Right', and treating Christians with disdain. They act as though being a Christian is something to be ashamed of.
Many in the media jump at the chance of reporting each and every human failing within the church. As a result, many Christians are ashamed of being e identified with such activities.
Even Christ’s disciples, at times, were ashamed or afraid of being exposed as Christians. Peter denied Christ three times. And the world believes that if it can stifle even the mention of God’s or Christ’s name, it will somehow cause Christ and His church to cease to exist. But, Christ tells us in His Word that if we remained silent, the very rocks and stones would testify that He is the Savior of the world.
Christ warns us that if we are ashamed of Him before mankind, He will be ashamed of us before His Father. Christians are asked to be prepared to declare Christ as Savior and Lord, even in the face of death. That’s a heavy responsibility, but it is nothing when compared to what He has done for us.
An elderly pastor who had suffered persecution in prison for many years in the former Soviet Union once told a story about an underground church service that was interrupted by armed men who burst in, loudly demanding that all Christians stand up and move to one side of the room. They then commanded all of the others to leave, and told the true Christian believers to prepare to die.
After most of the parishioners had left, the “attackers” told the believers to relax. The 'attackers' were also believers, but, before they joined the group, they wanted to weed out the deceptive non-believers in their midst. The group could then worship in earnest.
This same pastor made it through many years of imprisonment and persecution by holding onto Christ's admonishment, in Matthew 10:28, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." The moving hymn, “It is Well With My Soul”, by Horatio Spafford, became his sourc e of comfort throughout his captivity and afterward.
When traveling in foreign countries, I have often found myself in an area inhabited by groups that are antagonistic to Christians. I have played a scenario over in my mind in which I am confronted and commanded to declare whether I am a Christian. I believe that the Lord would have me answer in the affirmative, even in the face of harm or death. It would be a true test of my faith, but I believe that the Lord would deliver me, one way or the other.
I cannot, however, even take credit for the faith, courage, and whatever else gives me the peace to readily declare my love for the Lord in any circumstance. He gives me the faith to believe and the courage to stand strong on those beliefs. Who couldn’t trust a Savior like that?
I once was afraid to pray out loud in groups. I had convinced myself that prayer is such a personal time with the Lord, that it might be construed by others as boasting if I prayed out loud. Through growth in my walk with Christ, I learned that He expects me to lead others, particularly my family, in prayer. He gives me the words to say, and, by praying, I am teaching my family valuable life lessons, such as being bold in declaring Christ as Lord, and thanking Him for our blessings.
Not every Christian feels led to stand on a street corner with a mega-phone, shouting Scripture verses and calling others to repentance, but we are called to express and share our faith with others, and to proudly display Scripture references in our homes and wherever we go.
Hanging in a high and visible place in our home is a plaque, reflecting a verse from Joshua: ”As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Anyone who enters will have no problem identifying that we are, indeed, a Christian family. Ashamed? Absolutely not! We are proud to have been chosen, undeservedly, as heirs by the King of all Kings.
Jim Jackson is a Nationally Syndicated Columnist (www.amyfound.org) and Author (In All Things...Tate Publishing, Oklahoma City). He's a freelance writer and Editor-In-Chief of the Amy Foundation Internet Writing Syndicate. Jim has been a member of St. Matthew Lutheran Church for more than 3 decades.