“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter’” (Romans 8:35-36).
When applied to our love for Christ, Paul’s interconnected questions in Romans 8:35 are most searching: At what point will you abandon your love and devotion to Christ? At what point will you walk out on your spiritual marriage to Him? Will tribulation sever your love and loyalty to Him? Will distress be the “final straw”? How about persecution? Famine? Nakedness? Peril? or Sword?
Jesus clearly speaks of His bride being persecuted for righteousness’ sake (Matthew 5:10); reviled, persecuted, and spoken against falsely for His sake (Matthew 5:11); and hated by all for His name’s sake (Matthew 10:22). He is equally plain about the personal cost you will have to pay to be His disciple (Luke 9:57-62) and the utter necessity of counting that cost prior to your decision to be His follower (Luke 14:25-33).
Paying dearly for life’s most important spiritual things is nothing new. About a thousand years ago, a son of Korah wrote of the righteous being slaughtered as sheep; because of their adherence to God and His righteousness, they were being killed all day long (Psalm 44:22).
Are you willing to patiently and joyfully endure tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and sword for the One who for your sake became poor that you through His poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9)?
Are you willing to patiently and joyfully endure tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and sword the sake of the One in whom God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32)?
“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled…If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 3:14, 4:14-16).
What are you willing to deal with all day long for Christ’s sake?