Ever read Psalm 22?  And I don’t just mean read it as one would read the newspaper or a gripping novel.  I mean have you ever read it repeatedly; chewed over the words and thought about them so much that a magnificent picture is allowed to form in your mind’s eye, as the words play out our Lord’s sacrifice in your heart and in your mind?  Have you ever considered what it means to be ‘poured out like water’, or what it must feel like to have all your ‘bones out of joint’?  Have you ever pondered how much love One must have for another in order to knowingly, willingly, freely endure such suffering, so another does not have to (Hebrews 12:3)?  Why don’t you take a few moments now to do just that?  Go on.  I’ll wait.

Now, consider the title of this blog:  Are you living for Him?  Truly?  Are you dying to live?  Honestly?  What do I mean by this?  Well, are you filled to the fullest measure of His glory (Ephesians 3:19); is that even your heart’s desire?  Are you living out the freedom that is found in Him (2 Corinthians 3:17, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 6:1-14, 2 Peter 1:3-11)?  In those trying moments, are you standing for what you believe in your heart, according to His Word or are you falling for whatever is deemed ‘P.C’ at that time, for fear of being ridiculed and/or labelled a ‘phobe’ or an ‘ist’?

When we take the time to consider what our Lord went through for us, our reasonable response should be to live for Him; our reasonable response should be to die to self so that He might live and be glorified through us in word and in deed (2 Peter 1:3-10, 1 John 3:18).  Being a Christian is more than warming a seat on a Sunday; it is more than just a silver cross dangling from a chain around your neck, or a dove sticker on your living room window or a fish on the back of your car.  The Bible says that we will be known by our fruit, not by a bumper sticker (Matthew 7:15-23, 1 John 1:4-6).

The persecuted church is living for Him and dying to live, which is the very reason why they are being persecuted.  Please don’t get it twisted, I’m not at all suggesting that if one is not experiencing persecution that they are any less of a Christian than one who is, but what I do hope to achieve by writing these words is that your hearts are challenged, encouraged and reminded.  I hope that this blog causes a stirring in your spirit, challenging you to look closely at your walk with Him (1 John 1:4-6); that these words encourage you to explore the depths of your heart in an effort to discover how much you are prepared to sacrifice for Him (Mark 10:21, Matthew 13:43-46), and I trust that these words serve as a reminder to always prayerfully consider those who suffer for His Name’ sake (Hebrews 13:3).

– Annie

Annie loves tea, Jesus and Arsenal FC, but not necessarily in that order.