How far are you willing to go, I mean, have you really thought about this, have you truly sat down in your own mind and contemplated seriously just how far you are willing to go?
I have brought this account up in the past, and it goes through my mind occasionally still, that of Daniels’s three friends, (Daniel 3) how they did not lose their integrity, how they looked the most powerful man on the planet in the face and told him “No.” How many people in the last almost two thousand years, how many of our brothers and sisters in Christ today went to the very end, said no, and then were murdered by those that hate Jesus Christ our Lord.
That is what needs to be in your mind, and if you cannot look at the world around you today and see what is coming, me informing you of it will probably not assist you in this area any. It is perhaps the most difficult thought that we can allow ourselves to have, dying, and not just death, but death for the glory of God, the pinnacle of the fellowship of His suffering. (Phil. 3:10) I believe that I can guarantee you this one thing, if you do not think about this possibility, when, and if, it happens to you, you may very well falter.
I do not mean just in fear, no one walks willingly to a certain death without some fear or trepidation, you will not more than likely run towards the firing squad, the noose, or the fire yelling at those who want you dead to, “Hurry up! Let’s do this!” No, fear will be a part of this, because the body, the flesh does not want to die, for at least in the life of the believer, the flesh knows that when it is dead, it is dead, it will never be revived again, at least not in its present form. The flesh does absolutely not want to be glorified.
How do we face the fear of this possible moment then, how do we put one foot in front of the other while the entire body is shaking uncontrollably. “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44) The Lord Jesus was fully man, though with absolutely no sin, but He knew that what they were going to do to Him was going to hurt, badly, so what then, call down legions of angels? Turn everyone on the planet into some form of animal, do as the Lord God said to Moses, “Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them.” (Exo. 32:10) No, He put one foot in front of the other, and not just because He loves us, but because it was the Father’s will for this to happen.
That is how Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah went into the fire, this is how Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” (Job 13:15) This is why Peter went along that day so many days after the Lord had told him, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.” (John 21:18) That is how our brothers and sisters in Christ have always faced death, whether it came in their old age with family and friends around them or at the brutal hands of those who wanted the messenger dead, with the firm conviction of this truth, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) That we have “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Prov. 3:6)
Fear? Yes, probably, fear that paralyzes us, fear that cannot be tolerated, no, probably not. I have read many accounts of many God-fearing men who died, and those that watched their bodies die have said that there was an unmatched peace on their face in that moment. Will that happen to you, to me, to any of those you call brothers and sisters, I do not know. I do know that “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Heb. 9:27) I do know that He waits for me on the other side of that door, and I know this for a fact, it will be the last pain and fear I will ever experience forever.