These are the last words of students from Umpqua Community College in Rosenberg, Oregon.
On October 1, 2015, a 26-year-old man opened fire on students at this school killing 9 students and injuring 10 others. However, the key part of the story is that the gunman is said to have singled out students who were Christians. He would ask whether or not they were a Christian and if the student answered, “I am a Christian,” the gunman immediately killed them. This story started a social media hashtag that many Christians shared to show their support for the victims of the shooting: #IAmAChristian
Can you imagine being the second person asked that question? You just saw your fellow classmate acknowledge Jesus Christ only to be immediately killed. What do you do? What would any of us do?
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” – Matthew 10:32-33
Many of us have been raised in the Church; many of us have believed in Jesus since we were young. Are we ready to stake everything on that belief? Are our kids, our teens in our churches, our family members ready to give up everything they have here on earth because they are not afraid to say #IAmAChristian?
You see, Jesus is worth losing everything for because in Jesus we’ve gained everything. We find in him all that our hearts have longed for since they began beating in our mother’s womb: to know, to worship, and to be loved by him. He is worth more than this life could ever hold.
Yes, Lord willing, in that moment, we’d all choose to die for the name of Jesus Christ.
However, it is likely that many of us will never be asked with a gun to our head to make that decision. But, I would like to challenge each and everyone one of us: if we say we’d be willing to give up our very lives for the sake of Jesus, are we willing to give up anything else he may ask of us?
You see it’s much easier to hypothetically think about dying for Jesus, than to walk out the reality of living each day for him.
“Sure Jesus, of course I would die for you, but give up watching my favorite TV show, just because of some partial nudity, that seems like a lot to ask.”
“I’d die for you Jesus, but just don’t ask me to really give up my entire weekend for my annoying neighbor who asked me to help them with their yard work! I’ll miss the football game.”
“Jesus, you are worth everything. But seriously, you can’t expect me to invest more time in you than Sunday morning. I am booked all week and I have no time for myself already.”
“I love you Jesus, but sex outside of marriage is just so exciting. I’d miss out on all the fun of my youth if I tried to follow your outdated commands in the Bible.”
So often we want to choose to live for Jesus, but our minds are on earthly things rather than our eternal citizenship in heaven.
“For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:18-20
I don’t know if God will someday call you to give your very life for his name. But the Bible is clear that he’s already called you to give him your life right now.
“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” – Luke 14:33
Saying, “I am a Christian,” isn’t only for the moment before we die. It’s the road we choose to walk the moment we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10). Standing up and confessing that we follow Jesus is a great step of not being ashamed of our faith. But what is even more impactful and powerful in the darkness of this world is when we stand up and live out #IAmAChristian every single day of our lives.
Because if Jesus is worth dying for, than he is also worth living for!