For a long time, whenever I was reading a list of spiritual gifts, the spiritual gift of martyrdom – the divine enablement to undergo suffering for the faith even to death – puzzled me. Of course, even then I knew a multitude of Christians have been martyred ever since the early church and persecution is still a factor around the world. I’ve always admired the martyrs and thought they’ve possessed something I don’t have. Where I did go wrong was assuming the martyrs always have had the spiritual gift of martyrdom.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. (Matthew 5:11, NIV, emphasis added)
The spiritual gift of martyrdom
We are not born with the spiritual gift of martyrdom. It’s not given to us if we don’t need it. Like any other spiritual gift for that matter. We get the spiritual gifting we need as we go. This is how it is also as it comes to the spiritual gift of martyrdom. If we find ourselves persecuted, we will supernaturally receive what we need at that moment.
Jesus instructed his followers this way: “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” (Luke 12:11-12, NIV, emphasis added)
The Holy Spirit will teach us as we go. We will receive everything we need when we need it. What a reassuring thought. Right here and now we do not have what it takes to be a martyr. But it’s not about us, folks. It’s about God and his possibilities are endless. Hence, all the Christians that are persecuted or martyred will receive all the supernatural aid they need. The spiritual gift of martyrdom is real and it’s yours if/when you need it.
Pray for persecuted Christians
Praise God when you don’t need this spiritual gift. But know that you are called to pray for persecuted Christians and churches that are under threat. Prayer is not optional, it is a command for every Christian. You might not feel like praying. But persecuted Christians don’t have the luxury to wait until you do. Pray now, pray always. Pray and feel connected to the body of Christ.
Thank you that you do not leave us to battle here on our own.
Be praised for your supernatural powers.
Thank you for giving us all the spiritual gifts we need.
Also, we pray for the body of Christ around the world:
protect, equip, bless all who are yours.
Enable us to commit to praying for the persecuted church.
May the whole world hear the good news of Jesus Christ.
In Jesus’ precious name,
Q4U: What do you think about the spiritual gift of martyrdom? How do you pray for the persecuted church?