So many people today spend all their time gathering and storing away substance, provision, education and riches in order to pursue their desires. In our American society we are indoctrinated by our culture that the harvest for our work comes in whatever form of temporal blessing that most pleases us. That dream job, specific degree, or material possessions becomes the prize we seek after. Ultimately, it encompasses us and becomes our life. But this isn't just the end of it, for many this temporal comfort is deceptive enough to distort our judgment regarding living for Christ, which in turn means dying for Christ.
While spending some time in Hebrews 11:23-27 I was enlightened by the response of Moses to 'choose' suffering with the people of God (Heb 11:25) rather than enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin (Egypt). Most notably, the suffering Moses chose to succumb himself to was not an individual suffering. This suffering was to be endured with the people of God, a community of believers, the people of God, and they were going to suffer the afflictions (συγκακουχέω) together. As quickly as we associate this with the words of Paul teaching the Corinthian Church about mutual suffering (1Co 12:26) we often disassociate ourselves from direct suffering and 'empathize' with those who are persecuted abroad. I do not think this is what the scriptures teach us about suffering with the people of God.
The dilemma Moses faced was one of flight from a world of riches, comfort, ease, and quite possibly an ascent to the throne of Egypt. Instead he had made a choice to not empathize with the people of God from afar, he made a decision to go into their midst and suffer with them. This was no mere act of martyrdom, or an attempt to be esteemed by peers for his bravery and courage. This act was a decision to hold fast to the promises of God, bearing the reproach of Christ (Heb 11:26), and considering eternal life with the King as a cause for his action. Considering this, why would one choose the riches of the world, or the fleeting pleasures of sin for a season over the riches of eternal life and heavenly rest?
It is indeed a difficult question for any of us to answer straight out. So many of us do not consider placing ourselves in harms way for the sake of Christ. We have become comfortable with our residency in Egypt. Today it seems that the 'church' has become so complacent that empathy for those who suffer affliction and the reproach of Christ is sufficient sacrifice and going ourselves is reserved for those who are 'gifted' for that specific purpose. My conclusion is this,
Jesus said in Luke 9:23-24, "And he said to all, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (24) For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."
We cannot always be in a position to die for Christ, for it is only an event that the Lord surely ordains for those who have that distinguished honor. But, we can seek to be willing, and know that we like Moses can choose to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than marry Egypt and all its sinful pleasures for a season. The issue is not can you die for Christ, or when will you die for Christ. The question is are you willing to die for the sake of the Gospel, for the reproach of Christ, and for the glory of God, should He allow you that honor?
Do you seek to bear the reproach of Christ? (Heb 13:13)