Throughout your lifetime, you are going to be faced with many different kinds of decisions and temptations. Most of these will be small and hard to see coming towards us. Allow me to elaborate on what I mean by that. For example, it’s a Sunday night, and I know I have an important meeting at work early on Monday morning.. I need to spend time preparing that meeting.. My friends call me to go to the movies with them. I choose to go to the movies, instead of preparing the meeting.. Therefore, I am faced with a small everyday temptation. Instances similar to this approach us every day. These types of temptations are extremely hard to see coming, and occur many times in a single day. Some of them can affect you for the rest of your life.
It seems to me that life is a series of decisions we make and temptations we are faced with. We are put in a position to deny something we believe in. For example, take that prepare-the-meeting -or-go-tothe- movies situation. Depending on what you decide, you might find yourself opposing your own work ethic beliefs. The decision was all yours, and yours alone.
However, there is another type of situation. There are, unfortunately, times when people are forced into a situation that they cannot foresee in any way. This has nothing to do with a decision we make for ourselves, but a decision that was made by someone else.For example, if for no reason at all, out of the blue, someone walked up to you, put a gun to your head and asked if you believed in God, what would your reaction be? This situation is different and could lead to what I call the “Ultimate Temptation.” It is the denial of God. And just like in the past, it is very real today.
A lot of people in the past have been faced with situations similar to this. A lot of them were beaten, tortured, and even killed because of their faith. This kind of thing still goes on every day in different parts of the world. For example, in 1960, a monkpriest named Nestor was born in the province of Crimea in southern Russia. All the monks in Russia were required to be registered with the state which was atheist. Nestor did not register, so if he was caught he would be put in jail or killed. He was eventually ordained as a monk-priest. He found a church in Zharky and decided to stay there and serve God.
There were many times that Nestor’s faith was tested. His church was robbed several times. Eventually the people stopped caring about robbing the church; they wanted Nestor’s life. He was held at gunpoint in front of his own house. He ran inside and locked the door. They shot at him, but all he could do was shoot towards them to try and scare them away. He would never shoot at them. This scenario went on for quite a while in his life. Monk-Priest Nestor was eventually found dead outside the window of his house on December 31, 1993. His throat was slit and he had multiple stab wounds. This all occurred only 18 years ago.
I’m sure we have all heard about what happened on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Denver, Colorado. There was a school shooting by two boys who went to that school. It was a very tragic situation. But there is much more to it than that. Cassie Bernall was a student at Columbine and was in the library at the time of the shooting. One of the boys walked up to her at gunpoint and asked if she believed in God. Her response after a short pause was yes. Apparently they did ask her why, but didn’t give her a chance to answer. She was killed instantly.
The only way for me to answer that question is to actually be faced with the situation. I am a strong believer in God, and I would love to say that if someone held me up and asked that question, I would without a doubt say YES! But until I am faced with this (and hopefully I never am) I cannot give you an answer.
If someone just walked up to me and asked me if I believed in God, I would say yes. Of course I believe in God. But would the circumstances change if that person was a complete stranger and had a gun to my head? Of course it would. I don’t think that I would be so quick to answer. I personally have thought a lot about this for the last couple of months. In the end, my answer would still be “yes.” Christ offered us the promise of eternal life, which means life forever after death. I could either die for Christ and live forever, or live and really die.
What would your answer be in this situation?
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