Martyrdom is the greatest act of worship a believer can offer to God, apart from the celebration of the Eucharist, and the greatest gift a believer can offer from himself. But to be a martyr for God, does not only mean to suffer a violent death at the hands of unbelievers or while performing a dangerous missionary work in some jungle or desert. An average believer can offer martyrdom every day from their current position in life.
To be a Martyr, comes from the Greek word Μάρτυς/Μάρτυρ, which in turn means to be a “Witness”.
Generally speaking, every time we bear witness of our Faith wherever we are, in front of the world that surrounds us, we are officially “martyrs” of Christ, and most probably we have heard that many times in Church, evangelistic crusades or Bible class; however, in life there are many opportunities to suffer real martyrdom for the sake of Jesus Christ and his Gospel.
Every time we are subjected to abuse, or material and personal loss for doing God’s Will, we are offering a real act of martyrdom to God.
Christians will encounter in everyday life, situations where the refusal to do the wrong thing will bring adverse circumstances that will make their lives difficult.
A storeman who will not steal unaccounted goods, a policeman who will not take bribes, a secretary who refuses sexual advances from her superior knowing that she may lose her job, a clerk that struggles to survive with a small salary and refuses illegal activity to increase his income, a Christian man or woman who sacrifices his or her personal life in order to look after their children, sick sibling or elderly parents. Every time a Christian decides to forgive an adulterous partner without paying them with the same coin. Every time that a Christian suffers loss or pain, physical or spiritual, for the sake of Jesus Christ and his Gospel, he or she is suffering real martyrdom.
Every tear, every drop of blood, every drop of sweat, every loss opportunity, every dream shuttered, becomes a real act of martyrdom, if it is done for the sake of doing God’s Will.
The difference between Christian suffering and a natural man’s suffering, is that a Christian possesses the Holy Spirit, and his/her whole being is owned by God; body, soul and spirit. They carry an invisible spiritual seal on them that only angels can see. (Ephesians 1:13), and because of this seal, and our status as Children of God and Royal Priesthood (John 1:12; 1 Peter 2:9), Christian righteous actions and righteous suffering are sanctified by the Holy Spirit, so they can be offered to God as sweet sacrifice.
(Acts 10:4; Romans 15:16; 2 Corinthians 2:14-15; Philippians 4:18; 2 Timothy 4:6; Hebrews 13:16).
Every time we encounter suffering in our lives as a consequence of doing God’s Will, our suffering is not wasted or taken by the wind and forgotten. It is taken into account in Heaven on our favour, and we are counted among the Holy Martyrs of God. Conscious of this, let us offer our suffering and loss to God as a gift, from our heart, with faith and love, because a Crown awaits to all those who gave their lives one way or another for God’s Glory, in Jesus Christ our Saviour and through the Holy Spirit.