And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony,
and they did not love their lives to the death (Revelation 12:11, NKJV).
“That chocolate cream pie was to die for!”
Just words, right? Maybe. But I must confess that I’ve had that pie—more than once—and it was delicious. But to die for? Not so much.
As a word lover, I pay attention to what we say. “To die for” is a phrase that gets tossed around a lot these days. But if we stopped to think of its meaning before opening our mouths, would we still say it?
The above verse in Revelation gets quoted—in part—quite often. We love to proclaim the promise to overcome by the “blood of the Lamb” and “the word of [our] testimony,” but even in popular worship choruses, the last component of the equation is often omitted. We readily talk about our willingness “to die for” chocolate or a new dress or a trip to Hawaii, but martyrdom? Much more comfortable to leave that unpleasant thought back there with the first and second-century Church fathers who died in the early days of spreading the Gospel.
Yet most of us know that more Christians around the world have died for their faith in the last 100 years than in all the previous years combined since the Church’s establishment. That’s a sobering thought. And though most of us are blessed to live where—at least for now—we can freely proclaim and practice our faith, there are no guarantees that it will always be so.
Today, when we’re tempted to declare our passion for something temporal with the phrase “to die for,” can we first stop and utter a prayer for those who even now may be laying down their lives for the gospel’s sake? I guarantee that it will change our perspective on what is—and isn’t—worth dying for.