We live in a world of uncertainty with much pressure and/or stress. It is how we respond at such times that reveals just who controls our character; is it Christ or Satan? History reveals that during the Reformation, under almost indescribable persecution, Christ upheld His faithful ones, giving them the resolve to stand firm in their faith no matter what the consequences were. “The procession halted, the house was entered, the family were dragged forth and chained, and the terrible company went forward in search of fresh victims. … It was a reign of terror.” D’Aubigne, History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin, b. 4, ch. 10.” The Great Controversy, 226.
“The victims were put to death with cruel torture, it being specially ordered that the fire should be lowered in order to prolong their agony. But
- they died as conquerors.
- Their constancy was unshaken,
- their peace unclouded.
- Their persecutors, powerless to move their inflexible firmness, felt themselves defeated.
“ ‘The scaffolds were distributed over all the quarters of Paris, and the burnings followed on successive days, the design being to spread the terror of heresy by spreading the executions.
- The advantage, however, in the end, remained with the gospel.
- All Paris was enabled to see what kind of men the new opinions [new faith] could produce.
- There was no pulpit like the martyr’s pile.
- The serene joy that lighted up the faces of these men as they passed along … to the place of execution,
- their heroism as they stood amid the bitter flames,
- their meek forgiveness of injuries, transformed, in instances not a few, anger into pity, and hate into love, and pleaded with resistless eloquence in behalf of the gospel.’—Wylie, b. 13, ch. 20.” Ibid., 226.
Compared to these heroes of faith, how do you respond under the little pressures and stresses of each day? We are told that all Paris saw the reflection of Christ’s character shining through the flames. These innocent souls forgave their persecutors in meekness with hearts that were turned from anger and hate to love and pity. That transformation of character is available to all who have that desire and ask. There is no limit to the witness of the one in whom Christ lives. Then, when times of pressure and/or stress come upon us, it is the character of Christ that shines through and touches those around us because He has been transforming us ever so gradually.
Do you want that character that will stand strong in the flames of hate and that will reflect Christ at all times? Ask for it! Ask for the Holy Spirit to come into your life and make that transformation. God is waiting for such a request.
“God knows you by name. He knows every action of your life. …
“God knows every thought, every purpose, every plan, every motive.” My Life Today, 291.
The above group of people had the Holy Spirit working in their hearts daily and when the enemy came in like a flood, the Lord fulfilled His promise in each of them. “I am with you alway.” Matthew 28:20.
What a fulfillment!
Father: I plead for Your Holy Spirit to take total control of my heart. Bestow upon me a constancy today that will remain unshaken and a peace that will remain unclouded through all the pressures and stresses in my life so that Your character will be reflected no matter what may befall me. Amen.