The pleading was strong. The pressure was intense. Their tears said it all. Those who loved and respected the Apostle Paul did not want him to travel to Jerusalem. They knew it would probably be the beginning of the end for him. Even his companions, like Luke, travelling with him, tried to dissuade him from going to Jerusalem.

Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:13

Paul was ready to die for the name of the Lord Jesus. In Philippians 1:20 he said: “Christ shall be magnified in my body whether it be by life or by death.”  Paul felt it would be an honour to lay down his life for His Lord. And he eventually did die a martyr’s death.

Am I ready to die for Christ? For most of us, that may not seem like a relevant question. We are not feeling the fierce opposition of the powers of darkness. Our lives don’t appear to be in jeopardy just now for the cause of Christ. Having said that, there are a few reading this today and that pressure is very real.

But for sure, this question is relevant to all of us: are you ready to die? Readiness starts with knowing Christ as your personal Saviour. Maybe you have an experience but deep-down you know you do not have Christ. You just keep running from it. You don’t want to face it. If that’s the case, you are not – you are not ready to die.

There are Christians who are genuinely saved but suffer from bouts of doubts. If you fall into that category – you need to get the matter settled.  And then, there are those who ‘profess’ to be Christians and they too are plagued with nagging fears and doubts. They have every reason to fear and doubt – because they don’t have the root of the matter in them.

A genuine believer could experience doubts because of wrong teaching. Maybe they think they can lose their salvation if they fail the Lord. Others experience doubts because they haven’t been enjoying the Lord lately. Their Bible is usually closed, and their knees are rarely bent. They start to doubt the reality of their relationship with Christ. For someone else, it could be unconfessed sin in their life and it has blocked their communion with the Lord. It needs to be confessed and the fellowship will be restored. For others, doubts could be related to physical or emotional difficulties or depression.

Thomas had doubts. John the Baptist had doubts about Christ. Even Peter had doubts. Great characters in the Bible have had doubts. Having said that, no one should settle to live miserably with doubts.

But there are other reasons why one may not be ready to die. If I haven’t forgiven someone who has offended or hurt me – I am not ready to die. If there are outstanding issues that need to be cleared up – I am not ready to die. If I know something that others need to know, then I am not ready to die.

Yes, being ready to die for the cause of Christ is noble indeed and precious to the Lord. But being just plain ‘ready’ to die – regardless of the cause or reason, is a pressing priority. “Prepare to meet your God.” Amos 4:12.

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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