Stay the Course

Doing the right thing is the right thing to do. However, there are times when the right thing isn’t the easy thing to do. Even then, right is right and wrong is wrong. There are conditions that make it challenging to do the right thing.

Seldom there is resolution as decided as it was for John Bunyon who was threatened with extended prison time if he did not renounce a bold statement of conviction replied, “I will stay in prison till the moss grows on my eyelids rather than disobey God.” And on another occasion he declared, “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.”

Martin Luther held firmly to his conviction when threatened. Luther was urged to recant his statements, his “95” theses, and his other writings and teachings. He refused. In January 1521, Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X. By mid-April, Luther found himself answering allegations of heresy at the now-famous Diet of Worms, an assembly of princes and prelates overseen by the Holy Roman Emperor, with the strong possibility that the 37-year-old excommunicant would be burned at the stake.

He responded with these now famous words, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me.”

Modern day martyrs are numerous in some countries. Many have opted to die rather than renounce their faith in Jesus Christ.

These and countless others have paid with their lives because of their faith in Jesus. They have been the embodiment of this statement by Jesus: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Thus, forewarned many have rejoiced in obedience to Jesus Christ. We should keep this statement by Jesus, and the example of Christian martyrs in mind as we face increasing adversity.

Hopefully none will have a life threatening experience. It is insults, lies, belittling, mocking, exclusion, teasing, fear of rejection, and affronts we desire to avoid that threaten our devotion. “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” (1 Peter 3:14)

Mistreatment is hard. It is oftentimes caused by anger, hate, jealousy, and wrath. If you find yourself being under pressure, then ask God for strength and wisdom to help you do the right thing. God has constantly reminded us through His gospel to pray without ceasing. 

Pause now and refresh your commitment.