The Call to be a Martyr.
| Acts 1:8 New King James Version (NKJV)
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Jesus is telling us that once we receive the empowering of the Holy Spirit we will be witnesses unto Him in all the world! We are called to be witnesses where we are and wherever we go. Some of us are called to stay where we are and reach people where we are as we “go” about our daily lives, while others are called to “go” into different parts of the world as witnesses to reach people. Some are called to “go” where we are, and others are called to “go” somewhere else. No matter if you’re staying or going you are called to make disciples.
As believers, we are called to be disciples and make disciples wherever we are and where we go. We are all called to be witnesses of Jesus in all the world. When you think of the word “witness” what comes to mind?
The word witness can be defined as a person who sees or experiences something personally that can give testimony to what was seen, heard or experienced. As believers, we should all be able to testify about our relationship with Jesus. But the word “witness” in Acts 1:8 is more profound than this. In the Greek language (in which Acts 1:8 was first written) the Greek word is μάρτυρας, mártyras or martyr. A martyr is a person who is killed because of their faith.
The call to be a “witness” is the call to be a martyr.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to have your head cut off or be stoned to death because you are a follower of Christ, although that is a possibility, but it does mean that if you want to live the abundant Christian life and be fruitful as a disciple you need to accept the call to be a martyr. And I believe that the first step to being an effective witness (martyr) in all the world is to die to self. What do you think this means and what does it look like?
Romans 12:1 New King James Version (NKJV)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
We should all “die to self” in that we choose to be “living sacrifices” and have the attitude of “Yes, Lord” no matter what. In order to be truly effective in the world as a witness, you need to put yourself aside and seek first His Kingdom (Matthew 6:33). The biggest thing we need to deal with is adopting an attitude of “not my will but Yours, Lord.”
This may be a bit overwhelming for you and you may be thinking something like, “But God wants me to have a good life and enjoy things.” Amen. I am not saying that your life will be bad as a witness (martyr), in fact, it will be truly satisfying as you’ll be living for a greater cause and seeing amazing things happen – encounters with Jesus and other people, people being impacted by God’s goodness and receiving salvation and the kingdom advancing. The “yes, Lord” life is an adventurous life!
Here’s something you need to keep in mind: you do not need to go to the ends of the earth to be a witness! God is calling you to be a witness where you are, first. Being a witness is simply about allowing the Holy Spirit to reach out to people through you.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
18 All this is from God. Through Christ, God made peace between himself and us. And God gave us the work of bringing people into peace with him. 19 I mean that God was in Christ, making peace between the world and himself. In Christ, God did not hold people guilty for their sins. And he gave us this message of peace to tell people. 20 So we have been sent to speak for Christ. It is like God is calling to people through us. We speak for Christ when we beg you to be at peace with God.
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