What makes for a great Christian? The popular novel writer, Zane Grey, came very close to the mark when he defined greatness this way:

These are tests of true greatness: To bear up under loss; to fight the bitterness of defeat and the weakness of grief; to be a victor over anger; to smile when tears are close; to resist disease and evil men and base instincts; to hate hate and to love love; to go on when it would seem good to die. . . .

The heart of Grey’s words rings true for anyone who desires to do a noble work: opposition will come, and we must find a way to get through it.

Persecution has a bittersweet effect for members of the Body of Christ. It’s hard to swallow because it hurts. Injustice, mistreatment, ridicule, and in some cases extreme brutality have come upon those who profess the name of Christ. But the oppression profits us by pushing us from our comfort zones and stirring us from our spiritual slumber. It brings us to a point of decision: will we continue advancing the cause of Christ, or will we retreat into the shadows? In essence, persecution separates the wheat from the tares. Which are you?

You might not be forced to lay down your life for Christ today, but you might run into trouble for telling others about Him at work or in your community. Have you counted the cost of being a Christian? Do you feel Jesus is worth standing for? I challenge you to stand boldly for Him. This is the way to get to the top. Great will be your reward in Heaven.

The servant of Christ must never be surprised if he has to drink of the same cup with his Lord. — J.C. Ryle

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.