What Would You Die For?
By Belinda Elliott
CBN.com Daily Life Producer
Are you willing to give God everything you have – even if it means laying down your life? Are you reaching out to nonbelievers and telling them about Jesus? Are you living in a way that is leaving an eternal legacy?
A new book is causing Christians to reconsider these questions. I Would Die for You, by Brent and Deanna Higgins, is a story of one young man's passionate faith and devoted service for Christ. Through journal entries, blog posts, and emails, the couple tells readers about their son’s spiritual journey.
BJ Higgins gave his life to Christ at a young age and had a profound understanding of Scripture, even as a preteen. He spent hours studying the Bible and journaling about what God was teaching him. As he grew in his faith, he yearned to share it with others. He loved to talk to people and always found a way to talk about his faith with them before the conversation was over.
He also passionately shared his faith on the mission field. Through two mission trips to Peru, BJ faith’s grew along with his desire to see people give their lives to Christ. It was after his second trip that his own faith, and that of his family, would be severely tested.
Shortly after returning from Peru, 15-year-old BJ was admitted to the hospital with what doctors thought was pneumonia. But doctors quickly realized that his diagnosis was even more serious. The mysterious disease left BJ on a ventilator fighting for his life. After fighting the illness for six weeks, BJ died six days before his sixteenth birthday.
Journals from his last trip to Peru show that God was teaching him about obedience and dying to self. In an online blog after he returned from the mission trip, he wrote:
“How often do we really live as Christ? How often do we lay our own dreams and wants down for God? At church camp? On mission trips? Maybe even every Sunday or Wednesday? But Christ says DAILY. Too often do we attempt the whole “Christian living” on Sundays and Wednesdays, and forget the whole “DAILY Christian dying.” Christ calls us to die daily. — August 2, 2005
BJ had learned this lesson well. He fervently desired to be obedient to whatever God called him to do – even if it meant suffering or dying.
“Living is all for Christ and entails many trials and persecution, and is better for those around you, but dying and going to be the Lord is better for yourself. We need to live with courage and character worthy of citizens of heaven, fight boldly in this spiritual war we are immersed in, and take our suffering boldly, for it is a pleasure to suffer for Christ."
— BJ Higgins, Peru Journal, July 4, 2004
Though he did not tell his parents, the young missionary shared with a few close friends that he felt the Lord was calling him to physically lay down his life.
“BJ shared with some friends at Jump Start that he felt called to be a martyr. He said he felt like Satan was going to attack him physically. None of us really realized it would happen so soon,” wrote one of BJ’s fellow missionaries.
Another of BJ teammate’s also recalled a similar conversation.
“I remember him saying at Jump Start, ‘In a month I could be unconscious in the hospital. In two months, I could be dead.’ He told us, ‘I don’t know how much time I have, but I know that I’m going to spend it telling about the love of God and the grace of God.”
Though his parents did not know about this, they did know that BJ wanted everything about his life to glorify God, even his suffering.
“My little brother is amazing,” wrote his sister in an online blog. “He is laying down his life right now. He is eager to suffer for his Father’s glory. He GETS it. And I am challenged on a whole new level to understand that ALL is for God’s glory.” — Lauren, Sept. 2, 2005
In another entry she explained that she trusted God with her brother’s life and that she was leaning on her faith, but she struggled with the fact that God could use her brother’s death as another way to bring Him glory.
“ … We know that God will be glorified regardless of whether or not my brother dies. This is the hard part. — Lauren, August 20, 2005
God was indeed glorified through BJ’s death, just as He was through the teen’s life.
As BJ’s time in the hospital lengthened, the family developed a Web site, www.prayforbj.com, where they could post prayer requests and keep BJ’s friends aware of the latest news. Through that site Christians around the world began to unite in prayer vigils for BJ. His family was amazed as they watched the body of Christ come together — a unity that BJ had prayed to see among Christians worldwide.
BJ’s memorial celebration was also an opportunity for God to be glorified, and a chance for those who knew BJ (or who had learned about him through the Web site) to be challenged. When the speaker that day issued a call for the crowd to “take BJ’s place” on the mission field, many came forward committing to do just that. Even BJ’s family now serves with Awe Star Ministries, the organization that BJ worked through.
Seeing people answer God’s call is something that would make their son very happy. It was a call that he had issued to Christians himself in an online blog the previous year.
His plea should challenge us as well.
“And so now I challenge you, if you are not involved in missions or supporting missions to do so, for each of us has a different task to do in the body of Christ, as it says in Romans 12, but we are all to work together for the glory of God. And I also challenge and encourage you to continue to grow in Christ, daily reading his Word, praying, worshipping, and fellowshipping. Do not be satisfied with staying the same person and doing the same mundane routine each day, but change, grow closer to God and move deeper than just ankle-deep in him every day you live, for it may very well be your last.” — BJ Higgins, October 11, 2004
Pick up a copy of I Would Die for You today, and prepare to be inspired.
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