In 1555, as part of her campaign to re-establish the Catholic Church in England, Queen Mary, also known as Bloody Mary, arranged for John Philpot, one of the leading Protestant ministers of the day, to be burned at the stake. When his death sentence was pronounced, Philpot said, “I am ready; God grant me strength and a joyful resurrection.” Philpot walked to the place of execution on his own, rather than having to be dragged to it, and when he reached it, he knelt and kissed the stake at which he would be burned.
It is easy for us to focus on our problems and think that they are larger than they really are. Most of us have never endured genuine persecution for our faith. A few times people have gotten upset with me for sharing the Gospel with them, but none of them have tried to kill me. There may come a day when we must make the same life-or-death decision to be loyal to Christ regardless of the consequences. However, even in lesser trials we have a definite choice to make. Will we stand firm for what is right, or will we lower the standard to avoid trouble?