Daily Devotion, 02/02/2019, “Heads Up”
Jesus had this to say to the church/Christ-followers in the city of Smyrna: Revelation 2:9-11 NIV “I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”
I was just thinking that if Jesus were to speak directly to me regarding people with bad intentions toward me, the destructive work of the evil one in my little piece of the world and the suffering that comes along with all of that, I would want Him to tell me that none of it could touch me. I would want Him to tell me that putting my faith in Him guarantees me pretty much a painless and problem free life but the reality is that life on this side of Heaven is lived in a fallen world filled with fallen people and is influenced big time by a fallen former angel. Persecution, testing and suffering, “even to the point of death” due to the work of “the devil” who Jesus said in John 10:10 “comes only to steal, kill and destroy” are just part of life here sometimes. There will come a day in eternity when there will be no more suffering or sorrow for the followers of Jesus but today is not that day and this place is not that place.
I like that Jesus gives the Christ-followers in Smyrna (and by extension all Christ-followers everywhere) a heads up that they “are about to suffer.” I love that He also gives three words of encouragement to prepare us for the season of suffering, “Do not be afraid,” “Be faithful” and “I will give you life.” When testing, suffering and persecution come, I must remember that it’s just for a season. Rather than floundering in fear, I must choose to flourish in faith. Even though life here is beyond hard sometimes, I must put my hope in the victorious life that is to come when this short vapor of a life is over. May you savor every blessing and be faithful through the suffering.
You are loved!