I had a conversation about persecution during my 17th year of life. During that conversation, I boldly proclaimed that if someone held a gun to my head and asked me to renounce the name of Christ that I would go to my grave with joy. Today, it is a thought that I must ponder on and if I am truthful with myself, the answer is that I Would Deny Christ.
I think the moment that sharp piece of metal was laid against my throat, I would think about having not yet fulfilled my purpose; having not yet fulfilled my goal of becoming a millionaire and owning a particular home and car.
The moment which that heavy piece of metal kissed my temple I would probably come up with some crazy postulation about the use of wisdom; about saying that I wasn’t a Christian but knowing that God would look at my heart and know that I was.
I would even go so far as to pacify my cowardice and disloyalty by bringing forth the example of Peter. Even after his denials, he was the rock upon which the church would be built. His denials and disloyalty in a tough moment did not deny him a place with his Father in the afterlife. Still, I know that the example I really should aspire to be like is Stephen.
So what happened between then and now? Why is it that a few years ago I would be willing to die for the name of Christ but now the answer is different?
The answer is simple. The answer is concerned with a shift in focus. The answer is that my focus has shifted away from heavenly things to earthly things.
I think about today. I think about my life on this earth. I think about my career, my success, and building an empire and while success in these areas of my life are not anti-Christ, I do believe that these things can become anti-Christ when they begin to take a place of priority on the throne of my heart.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
That I would deny the name of Christ is a shameful burden but it is also an opportunity to set a few things straight. This realization has given unto me the gift of knowledge that would allow me to recalibrate and to change focus. It is a reminder to deny the culture that preaches that this earth is my eternal home.
It is a call to the keepers and thinkers of ephemeral things to become keepers and thinkers of perpetual and heavenly things because it is only when we make this shift in focus will we become owners of the grace that will allow us to boldly proclaim the name of Christ even unto our deaths.
So ask yourself and answer honestly. Where is your focus? Is it on the car that you are going to buy for your 25th birthday? Is it about your legacy and our fame or is it about the legacy and fame of Christ? Is it on earthly things or is it on heavenly things?