I remember watching a mini-series when I was a kid, probably 8 or 9. It was about the lives of the apostles Peter and Paul. It was titled, creatively enough, Peter and Paul.
I remember ever since then that whenever I read the words of Paul in one of his letters, I always hear Anthony Hopkins’ voice. I guess that means that the series had an impact on me.
I watched it again 30something years later. It’s not 100% accurate to the account of the Acts of the Apostles, as penned by Luke, but it gets the important stuff right. I’m reminded that the early believers paid a dear price for proclaiming their faith.
They were persecuted and belittled. Some were even tortured and killed. All for the name of Jesus. All for saying that Jesus, and not Caesar, is Lord.
I don’t have any reference to compare that to. I’ve never faced any real persecution for my beliefs. I’ve never face the choice of recanting or dying. I’ve never lost anything for professing what I believe.
I do think that at some foreseeable point in the future, we as American believers will have to sacrifice for our beliefs. It may cost us our jobs, our homes, our relationships. Even our lives and the lives of those we love.
I honestly hope I’d be brave enough to still profess Jesus as Lord, but I know me too well. Only by the grace of God given in that moment would I be able to hold fast to my faith in that hour. And no, I don’t think God gives me that strength to bear until the time when it is needed. Grace for the moment.
I do think that God asks us to be faithful in smaller matters so that when the big tests do come, we will be ready. If we’re faithful in the little things, God can entrust us with the larger matters.
Ultimately, it’s not about how strong my grip is to hold onto Jesus, but how strong His grip is to hold onto me. That’s what will get me though.