We live in a world where it is more normal to be persecuted for your faith than not. We who live in the “free” world must never forget those who live in the face of death every day. Strangely, our nation is allied with countries where Christians are faced with death for following Christ—Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan are each on the list of the top ten where Christians have almost no freedom to worship.
Perhaps you read about the brutal murders of Christians in Nigeria this month? One attack was at the Deeper Life Bible Church in the capital: 9 worshipers killed, 19 wounded. One witness said, “There was blood all over the church; it was a horrible sight.”
Can you imagine living every day facing death? But in fact, we do. Dying to 'self.' Every time God shows us the things in our heart we love more than Him (Jn. 14:24). Long before our friends in Nigeria were martyred for Christ, they had already made that decision to love Jesus more than their own lives, even when faced with death (Rev. 12:11). Imagine this: Jesus looks into your eyes and says: "Do you love me more than ____?" (Jn 21:16).