Since I make a living stringing sentences together, I love multipurpose words.
“List” is one of them.
A noun or a verb, it provides the ability to get organized and plan our days.
To set goals.
To create priorities.
To help us keep track of the things we need to do.
There are all kinds of lists we can make to help us organize our thoughts and lives.
“Options for My Delicious Day” lists (That’s one I made recently when I had an entire Saturday off, having finished my work for the week. Yay!)
Lots of people make lists.
Heck, even Santa has a list he checks twice.
To see who’s been naughty or nice.
But apparently Santa isn’t the only one doing that kind of thing.
Recently, in the news, there have been stories about various entities creating something along the lines of revenge lists.
Lists to somehow punish those who have disagreed with them or supported ideas or individuals they don’t like.
That kind of dynamic has been going on for a very long time.
Around the world, lists are created by those in power to punish those who disagree with them or don’t support their ideals.
This is especially true for Christians in regions governed by oppressive regimes, who may be persecuted for following Jesus.
We haven’t yet seen that type of dynamic in this country, but if current trends are any indication, it may not be far off.
In our cancel-culture world, those with conservative ideals are increasingly being singled out.
In a country that was founded on Judeo-Christian values, it’s less and less popular to support perspectives that align with them.
A time may even come when those who identify with Jesus will be persecuted to varying degrees.
But that’s okay, because as His followers, we get to be included on the list that matters most.
The one in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27).
In The Jeremiah Study Bible, Dr. David Jeremiah refers to this as “the registry of the redeemed” (p.1869).
Jesus was pretty clear about the need to be willing to take a stand for Him in this world—which, to me, infers there will be a need to do so.
In Luke 12: 8-9, He says, “Also, I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God” (NKJV).
Here’s what Dr. Jeremiah says in his commentary on that passage: “To confess Jesus before men means to openly acknowledge one’s affiliation with Christ, regardless of the possible consequences. One day in the future, Jesus will openly acknowledge all faithful disciples as His own. People who allow human authorities to frighten them into disowning Jesus will be disowned in heaven before the angels. The future and eternal reward He promises for enduring allegiance will far outweigh any current pain (Romans 10:9-11; 2 Timothy 2: 11-13; Revelation 3:5)” (p. 1411).
The early Christians faced great persecution, and the Apostle Paul was one who endured a lot of hardship for the sake of Christ—which explains his encouragement to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power,” by putting on “the full armor of God so you can stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…” (Ephesians 6: 10-13, NIV).
That “full armor of God” Paul talks about includes:
- “the belt of truth”
- “the breastplate of righteousness”
- “the gospel of peace”
- “the shield of faith”
- “the helmet of salvation”
- “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:14-17, NIV).
And the finishing touch Paul applies to that armor is prayer: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6: 18, NIV).
Things could get increasingly difficult for Christians in this country.
And God wants us to stand for Him and be willing to be counted for His sake.
To be witnesses to others of the love, hope, and salvation that can be found in Jesus alone.
To stand in the face of persecution, and declare him as Savior and Lord.
The nefarious lists of this world have no power over us.
Because the list that matters most is the one written by the Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ.
And I intend to be on it, no matter what.
This post is adapted from Sue’s Perspectives column in the latest edition of The Empowered Traveler™ Newsletter. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can do that here: Subscribe to Sue’s newsletter.
Feature photo by Lalaine Macababbad on Unsplash.