READING: Esther 4-6, Revelation 2
I cannot imagine what it would be like to receive a letter from Jesus that says, “Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. Look, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison to test you, and you will experience affliction for ten days” (Rev 2:10). That’s part of the letter the church of Smyrna received, and the words must have been hard. Jesus, though, didn’t leave them hanging in their anguish. Instead, He reminded them that their faithfulness to death would result in a crown of life; that is, though their suffering would be short-lived (described as “ten days”), their reward would be eternal life.
I started this devotion by saying I cannot imagine hearing from Jesus about coming persecution – but the fact is, that’s the letter He’s already given us. The Word of God warns all of us believers that suffering is part of our Christian walk. Here’s the way the apostle Paul described it to his protégé, Timothy: “In fact, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12). Simply put, a non-believing world will always be in opposition to the Church—and that opposition could, in fact, lead to our deaths. We have the same promise Jesus gave to the Smyrna church, though: our reward is eternal life. The temporary pain we face will be consumed by the joy of being with the Lord forever.
PRAYER: “God, grant me faith to die if that’s Your call on my life.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Weekend is for catch-up and review
MONDAY’S READING: Esther 7-10, Revelation 3