In February 2015, ISIS murdered 21 Coptic Christians because they were people of the cross.

While being a person of the cross might mean death on earth, it leads to life eternal. Todd Smith explains what it means to be a person of the cross.

“What does Jesus say? What does He promise will happen? In Scripture, we know that Jesus says we must carry our cross.”

“There’s nothing peaceful, simply, loving, and safe about carrying your cross. It is a sentence of death. You’re putting yourself in a vulnerable place. You’re taking on something that will result in death.”

If Jesus was persecuted and we claim to follow Him, we can expect the same fate.

“Peter talks about how suffering, it’s like being purified; how gold is purified. Over and over again, we see how God is glorified in suffering and in persecution.”

The picture of God as a suffering servant is often hard to stomach for many who confess Christ.  Todd says that persecution often acts as a catalyst that causes the Gospel to spread.

“Look at Stephen, he was one of the first deacons of the church. He was a brilliant man, inspired and filled with the Holy Spirit. As he shared, he ended up being stoned to death; he became the first martyr. His death led to the first great persecution of the church and then the church spread. In fleeing, they ended up carrying out the great commission, which is what they we’re supposed to do in the first place. As they fled, they started new churches and the Church grew.”

On the outside, it looks like persecution means God is losing. However, God is glorified even more in the faithful death of His saints.

“The greatest example of that is by His own Son, humbling himself, becoming a person, living a perfect life, being beaten and crucified and as a result of that suffering, God was glorified and heavens gates were opened to all of us.”

Being a person of the cross means being willing to endure any form of suffering for the name of Jesus Christ. Thankfully, God has promised to equip us to endure any trial with our eyes fixed on Him.

Todd Smith is a founding member of the multi platinum music group, Selah. He spent 8 years growing up in Congo, Africa as the son of missionaries.  He is married to author and speaker Angie Smith.  They live with their 4 girls in Nashville, TN.

Key Scripture: Revelation 12:11

Featured Song: Love Take Me Over – Steven Curtis Chapman; Glorious – Passion; Impossible Things – Chris Tomlin

Artist's Corner: People of the cross