Friday, November 14, 2008

Defining Your Limits

I recently read a true story that occurred in early 19th century Russia during a period of severe religious persecution. Groups of Christians would secretly meet to read scripture and worship. They went to great lengths to avoid detection, with carefully crafted plans for gathering without arousing suspicion. Despite their best efforts, a group meeting was sniffed out by several KGB agents. The agents stormed the hidden sanctuary and threatened to kill everyone for disobeying the standing orders of the government on unsanctioned religious activity. They told the gathering that if they denounced their God, they would be spared. A sizable fraction of the congregate immediately followed these orders and hastily made a path for the shadows. However, a core group held strong. The agents became even more agitated and began more direct death threats and physical pressure. Another fraction ultimately relented and scurried away. When it was clear that no further members of the remnant would give in, come penalty of imprisonment, beatings, or death, the KGB agents stated that they had recently received the gospel and could tell only those who would protect their identity at all costs. So, what group are you in? Those who immediately betrayed their faith and their Lord or those who held out until the fire was turned up and then slinked away to save themselves. What about the group who would face their demise without yielding? Are you in it to the end no matter the cost? What defines your limits?