**Warning! Please read this story before sharing it with younger children to determine how to share it with them.**
The following is a true story about a young lady who claims and confess Christ shared in Jesus Freaks: Martyrs. It was the 16th century in Roneses, Flanders. Philip II sent the Duke of Alba to the city in order to search out and kill all those who claimed Jesus and insisted on reading the Bible in their own language. If anyone were found, the Duke of Alba had authority to hang, drown, suffocate, burn them alive, or tear them to pieces.
As the search went on through the city, a Bible was discovered in the house of the Mayor of Brugge. The family members were drug out before the officials one by one and interrogated about the Bible. Each one denounced owning it, much less reading it. Finally, the officials reached the young maidservant, Wrunken. They asked her about the Bible, and with confidence she said, “I am reading it.” Knowing the great danger she was now in, the Mayor of Brugge tried to defend her saying she only owned the Bible but didn’t read it.
However, Wrunken refused this lie, and claimed Christ and His scriptures saying, “This book is mine. I am reading from it, and it is more precious to me than anything.” She was sentenced to die by suffocation. Wrunken would be buried alive within the city walls. On the day of her execution, officials attempted to get Wrunken to “repent” of her devotion to Christ, but she wouldn’t. Nothing they said would make her let go of the Lord. A whole was dug in the wall, Wruken placed inside, and then it was sealed back up.
Claiming and Confessing Christ Isn’t Always Easy
This story is a sobering reality check for us. While this specific event happened in the 16th century, martyrdom is still occurring to this day. In an article written by Dr. Todd M. Johnson, a professor of Global Christianity and Missions at Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary, estimates about 900,000 Christians were killed for their faith from 2011 to 2020. That is just around 90,000 Christians a year. Will you, stop right now and pray for our brothers and sisters facing persecution around the world today?
Now that you have prayed, how does this story apply to us on our journey to reclaim joy? Persecution from the devil takes all shapes and forms. It might come externally, internally, or from some “nally” you’ve never noticed. The devil has a way of robbing our joy, and he will do it every single time unless we Claim and Confess Christ!
- Can you think of someone in the Bible or someone you might know personally who has been persecuted for their faith?
- Have you ever experienced persecution of any kind for your faith? How did it impact you?
- What can we learn about our faith from the story of Wrunken?
In this devotional, I want us to notice that ownership of our faith leads to ownership of our joy! When we claim and confess Christ, our joy is secured in the Rock of our Salvation. It cannot be moved, shaken, or overturned.
C – Confess and Claim Christ
Claim and Confess Christ:
Read Philippians 4:4–7. This passage has served as a driving factor on our journey to reclaim joy. In verse five, Paul says, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” Paul is stirring up the idea of community and celebration. However, this celebration is within the context of good times and anxious times. How can we do this? What is “reasonableness?” It comes from a Greek word meaning gentle, tolerant, kind, and courteous. This applies by faith and through adopting the attitude of Christ.
When life hits us hard (friends are mean to us, a job is lost, relationships are on the shambled) how does our head stay above the waters? Only through the power, life, and blood of Christ. How do we turn the other cheek? We can only do this by the power, life, and blood of Christ. How do we pray for our enemies? We can only do this by the power, life, and blood of Christ.
This is not easy. It is not easy to stare at difficulties and persecutions in the face. Ask Wrunken. It is a mindset we must have. Before Wrunken was sealed shut inside the walls she said, “My Lord died for me. I can die for Him.” This is reasonableness, and she made it known to all there. Please understand, I am not saying we must literally die in order to obtain joy. What I am saying is that we must have the mindset that being in Christ is our only joy. To be in Christ and to have Christ is to have joy! This mindset understands joy is not circumstantial, it is Christ essential. So, who have you told about Jesus recently? How do you need to claim and confess Christ today?
- Read Psalm 121, how does this encourage you to claim and confess Christ?
- What are some challenges we might face when we claim and confess Christ? How does God help us face these challenges?
- What is reasonableness look like in a tangible way?
To be in Christ and to have Christ is to have joy! This mindset understands joy is not circumstantial, it is Christ essential.
 DC Talk and the Voice of the Martyrs, Jesus Freaks: Martyrs (Bloomington, MN: Bethany House, 1999): 41-42.
 Johnson, Todd M. “Christian Martyrdom: Who? Why? How?” https://www.gordonconwell.edu/blog/christian-martyrdom-who-why-how/.