A Story About Impact No Matter Our Age

I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus.

Revelation 1:9

“They have burned our possessions, but they cannot burn Jesus from our hearts.”

I read the following story from the Voice of the Martyrs. It’s an amazing organization that helps the persecuted believers around the world.

Origen was not the typical eighteen-year-old. He was a teacher in second-century Egypt. As the church of his day suffered severe persecution, Origen did not spend his time chasing girls or trying to impress his peers. Instead of running from the horror that had killed even his own father, Origen chose to become a companion with the persecuted church.

Origen spent his time encouraging Christians who had been brought before the court. When they were led to death, he walked up to kiss them. He even visited the prisons to comfort the believers. But Origen soon found himself in grave danger for his compassion toward the condemned believers. Soon soldiers were posted around his house because of his influence on the church. He had many enemies, and the anger towards him grew hotter each day. He was eventually forced to leave the city. He moved from house to house because of the many threats against his life. But spurred on by the examples of faith in Hebrews, he continued being a companion to those who were persecuted. He even employed several people to handwrite additional copies of the Scriptures.

Eventually, his amazing attitude drew some of his enemies to Christ. However, he was eventually imprisoned, tortured, and killed for this same attitude.

When I read this story I couldn’t help but to think about both my children and my own childhood. I seriously doubt that I would have been like Origen at 8 years old. It takes a special person to join a cause that risks their own life at such a young age. Origen’s father must have been a great example for him. Will my children be empowered and passionate about the things of God? Am I teaching them the values of a Biblical lifestyle and what it means to be committed to the cause of Christ? When I go home to be with Jesus and leave them behind, will they take their place in the kingdom mission? Am I displaying a life of surrender to the greater calling on my life? This was such a challenge for me!

We have to be a legacy for our next generation. Every child is passionate. We have to guide their passion in the use of the gospel. Anyone can inspire. Anyone can encourage. Anyone can display the love of Christ. Age is no barrier.

One of the songs that’s spoken to me a lot on this topic is Only Jesus by Casting Crowns. Take a look at the lyrics:

Make it count, leave a mark, build a name for yourself
Dream your dreams, chase your heart, above all else
Make a name the world remembers
But all an empty world can sell is empty dreams
I got lost in the light when it was up to me
To make a name the world remembers
But Jesus is the only name to remember

CHORUS
And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy
I don’t care if they remember me
Only Jesus
And I, I’ve only got one life to live
I’ll let every second point to Him
Only Jesus

All the kingdoms built, all the trophies won
Will crumble into dust when it’s said and done
But all that really matters
Did I live the truth to the ones I love
Was my life the proof that there is only One
Whose name will last forever.

When it all comes to an end, it shouldn’t matter to us whether our loved ones cherish our memory, but the memory of a life lived for Jesus. Origen must have seen the life of Jesus displayed in someone close to him. No doubt, those in his life saw Jesus displayed in him.

“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

1 Timothy‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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Shine a little light

“Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”

1 Peter 2:17 ESV

I’m finding it very difficult to not get bitter towards the media in our nation. Not necessarily because of anything new, but of the consistent manner of its existence. That’s all forms of media by the way. Social, broadcast, print, and chain media alike. In the opening verse above, none of those things occur with much regularity. I understand that not many media outlets run by godly standards, but some certainly claim to. Yet even in those, it’s rare to see people being honored, love being spread, the fear of God being shown, and our nation’s leaders being honored.

I am also aware that all of our presidents have been shady in their own way. They’ve all messed up. They’ve all been imperfect. No president has a spotless foreign or domestic record. And our media sources behave like ravenous wolves out for blood. It doesn’t matter who is in power, the media closely related to opposing ideologies take every opportunity, whether manufactured or legitimate, to attack and ridicule.

It’s expected, sadly, for our media to behave in such a manner. The bigger problem, however, is when individuals operating on their own, mimic the behavior. Gossip and misleading information circulates with rapid speed through our social media. I guess to some extent we can’t blame them since that is what they are being fed. But for those of us who hold allegiance to Jesus and godly virtues, we should not be guilty of the same.

Honor everyone. This is a pretty all inclusive command. We all have people who aren’t honorable in our lives, but that doesn’t excuse any Christian from extending honor to them. That simply means we show everyone that they have value. Whether they act or think like me means nothing. They still have value because they’re created in God’s image just like me.

Love the brotherhood. Jesus said that people will know that we belong to Him by how we love each other. That’s unconditional, sincere, deep seated, servanthood love. And just as Jesus demonstrated, we still love the unlovable in this way.

Fear God. This is probably the most obvious element missing. Godly standards are pushed aside, and in some cases, outright ridiculed. For believers, our faith should be interwoven into everything we say and do. Those around us should know Who and what we stand for.

Honor the emperor. Even though we don’t have an emperor, and even though our president is far from perfect, he’s head and shoulders above any Roman emperor. The worst that any American president has ever done can’t even be compared to the leaders of Rome. Crimes against humanity were a daily occurrence, especially among those who were in power when Peter wrote the words above. To disagree with our leaders is natural. But to disrespect them should not be permitted among those who follow Jesus.

The body of Christ needs to shine a bright light in all three of these areas. Our voices of love and honor need to resound more loudly than the pervasive winds of pessimism and hate that consumes much of what is broadcasted in our nation. Those of you who work in the mainstream media, start where you are. If you have social media, utilize that tool to it’s greatest potential. For all of us, let’s be a beacon of love and honor wherever we are.

Peace brothers and sisters