A timely question to ask believers: Are we Christians prepared to stand up for Jesus as the world applies more and more pressure against God and His Word, even when things get hot? Are we willing to identify with Christ in the hour of darkness or will we, like Peter, deny him before the rooster crows? The Scripture says that the night is almost over and the day is almost near... the rooster is almost about to sound the morning cry. (Romans 13:11-12)
We must, at this time, gird up the loins of our mind for action and prepare for ultimate sacrifice. The key to standing strong against the enemy is staying weak before the Lord: total dependence upon God and having no confidence in ourselves (Eph. 6:10). Peter failed because he faced that night strong in himself - Jesus had to teach him a vital lesson. Death to self NOW will prepare us for physical death LATER. Why could Stephen, the first of the Christian martyrs, stand so boldly in the face of certain death, without a concern for his own safety, and unwaveringly proclaim the gospel to his captors? He certainly could have saved his skin! ...Probably without even compromising his faith... but he was already dead. Stephen was martyred long before the stones struck him, for Stephen had already learned the secret of identification with Jesus in His death, thus the act of physically dying became a glorious testament to the glory of God!
Christians, are we prepared to suffer for Christ? "Ye have not yet resisted sin to the point of shedding of blood." (Hebrews 12:4). The discipline of God, spoken of in chapter 12 of Hebrews, breaks our self-confidence, builds our confidence in God, so putting strength in our hearts. Submitting to God's discipline today will result in divine strength tomorrow.