The leaders of the Jerusalem church referred to Barnabas and Paul as “men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:26). Earlier, Paul had been stoned by an angry mob. Later he would experience many more hardships in his service to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:23-28).
Paul appreciated risk-takers like himself, such as Priscilla and Aquila, “who for my life risked their own necks . . .” (Romans 16:4).
He commended Epaphroditus, who “came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me” (Philippians 2:30).
Worth the risk?
Sometimes it’s wise to avoid unnecessary hazards, such as when an older person hands over the car keys in view of diminishing eyesight and slower reflexes.
But what if a Christian is faced with the choice of confessing Christ and suffering for it, or denying Him to save his own skin?
At one point Peter’s fear led him to deny he even knew Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75). Later emboldened, he was willing to suffer imprisonment, beating, and death for the Master (Acts 4:18-31; 5:17-42; 12:1-4).
What would we do, if faced with the choice?
“Blessed are you,” Jesus said, “when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/
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