Dear in the Headlights: Faith Under Fire

By Jimmy Phillips

Faith is something with which I have struggled a lot. For the longest time I had this notion that faith was an idea – an abstract noun. But the Lord continually reveals to me that faith is not just a noun; it is also a verb.

The idea of faith being something we do is a concept not found in the Church today. Sure, there are some who live what they believe, but many do not. We were talking in my International Relations class about the Chinese Church and how it is thriving amidst an oppressive, anti-religious government. There are people in China willing to die for Christ; I wonder if such pervasive passion can be found in the West.

Here we have religious freedom. We cannot be shot for going to church or to temple or to any other service. It’s not legal. To an extent, the West has even embraced the Church in a way that has been good for its growth, but I think we are stagnating.

I wonder what would happen if crazy people or government officials began opening fire on Sunday school classes and publically executing pastors. I know that is extreme, and don’t for the slightest moment think I am wishing violence on people, but I genuinely believe we would abandon our beliefs if there was a reasonable chance we might lose our lives over them.

We have become so comfortable in our wealth and standard of living that I think we would not be wont to give them up. If God called you to serve in North Korea or Iran or some other scary, deadly place, would you trade in your steady job and nice house to go?

A safe place has allowed the Church to train pastors and missionaries to go out to those unholy places, but it has also cost the Body a loss in fervor. Religious persecution has done great things for the growth and strength of the Church since Calvary, so why not now?

I sit here and suggest these things, knowing full well my faith has never been tested to the degree I am suggesting. But I want it to be. I don’t want to have my faith, I want to live it and share it. Coziness and comfort will not foster that kind of life.

If you are not fully living your faith, you are not doing anybody any good. As the boys on my floor would say, “Do it or screw it.” Either live radically for God, or don’t waste your time.

There is a world out there I have to face. I know it is not the safest choice to make, but I choose to serve God with my whole life. I want Him to fill my spirit so He can pour me out. If He asks for my final breath, I will give it to Him. There is nothing this world offers which means more to me than His unyielding love.

I pray that if I ever find myself on the deadly end of a government gun because of the God I serve, I will have the courage to bite the bullet. Will you?

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