My brother, in a recent blog post, challenged believers to not only be willing to die for Christ, but, even more so, to be willing to live for him. This is such a painful reminder because, for many reasons, it seems so much easier to do the former.
When we die for Christ, our firm stand for Who He is and for the Word of His love is our final act. A resounding glory and testament to the source of our faith. We do not find ourselves remaining on this earth to "live with the consequences" of our unwavering solidarity in Christ. A martyr, instead, travels directly from his final battle in Christ's name to the arms of his very Savior. There are no stops between. A death for a cause and eternal life at the throne of our Creator. How beautiful.
But when what follows after our stand is not an earthly death, but life, a life wherein we have lost our pride and all we have built for ourselves has come crashing around us, this seems, often, a fate worse than death.
Much as it is stated in the famed The Princess Bride, a fight "to the pain" is not even comparable to death. As Christians, a battle to the pain for our Savior leaves us with perfect ears to hear the mocking, the insults, the unanswerable questions of faith which leave us broken, crying out to God, the only source of healing.
A life lived in unwavering commitment to our Christ is one we hardly recognize, for it is difficult to find in our neutral society. One where it's ok to wear the name, as long as you don't play the game too hard.
This is why being a martyr seems so easy at times. I know how to die for Christ - say the word in the right place and it's all over. But how do I live for Christ; truly, whole-heartedly, live? That is a question which is, decidedly, more difficult to answer.