We exist to glorify God by loving Him with all our heart, delighting in His Word, and declaring His gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit for the transformation of lives in a vital and joyful union with Jesus Christ.
Josef Tson was arrested and imprisoned several times in Romania during the 1970s and charged with being a Christian minister. Each time he underwent several weeks of intense interrogation, beatings and mind games before finally being exiled from the country in 1981.
It was in this climate that he began to understand the "theology of martyrdom," which later became the subject of his book, “Suffering, Martyrdom and Rewards in Heaven.” From a practical standpoint, Tson said his imprisonment helped him form a clearer view of the biblical response to persecution.
During one particularly harrowing session of interrogation, Tson told his inquisitors that spilling his blood would only serve to water the growth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Part of the theology of suffering, he learned, was that tribulation is never an accident but is part of God’s sovereign plan for building His church. “I told the interrogator, ‘You should know your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying,’” Tson said. “‘Now here is how it works, sir: You know that my sermons are on tape all over the country. When you shoot me or crush me, whichever way you choose, [you] only sprinkle my sermons with my blood. Everybody who has a tape of one of my sermons will pick it up and say, ‘I had better listen again. This man died for what he preached.’ Sir, my sermons will speak 10 times louder after you kill me and because you kill me. In fact, I will conquer this country for God because you killed me. Go on and do it.’
Click Here to listen to hear Josef Tson's story and his "theology of martyrdom."
Perhaps some of you are in the middle of overwhelming circumstances right now.
What should you do? How might you combat fear?
Refuse to panic. Refuse to let your circumstances dictate how you will respond with your thoughts and your actions.
Pray for God to show you the roots of unbelief in your heart that are feeding your fear. What are you really afraid of?
Attack unbelief! Repent of any unbelief in your heart that is warring against trusting God. War against it like an intruder in your home at night (friendly car salesman vs. terrorist).
Pursue truth! What does the Bible say that correlates to your situation?
a. Who is God (attributes)?
b. What has God promised?
c. If you don't know the Bible, find a friend who knows the Bible
well enough to you help you find relevant truths.
Pray and preach those truths to yourself repeatedly until Biblical truth dominates your perspective.
Affirm that God fulfills good purposes for your growth and His glory even through affliction.
Rejoice in the Gospel! Remember the temporal nature of your circumstances and remember your eternal hope. Even in the worst circumstances (death), we have hope.
Celebrate God's faithfulness by practicing gratitude.
Focus on fulfilling today's responsibilities in the power of Christ, loving God and others more than focusing on yourself.
Adopt a Philippians 1:21 attitude for life: "to live is Christ and to die is gain."