8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death – Revelation 2:8-11
As Christians, one of the hardest things to suffer can be the reproach of others who also call themselves Christians.
There are many who call themselves Christians, but they consider the things that God says are evil to be good, and they consider the things that God calls good to be evil (blasphemy).
For example, there are times when being a Christian means forsaking the riches and pleasures of this world and seeking the riches of the Kingdom of God instead.
In so doing, we might appear to be poor in this world and therefore looked down upon by those who measure God’s blessings according to prosperity in the world.
This is even more true when false saviors come, promising peace and prosperity in return for allegiance—allegiance that requires one to deny the teachings of Jesus and embrace blasphemies.
The more this world requires us to join with evil in order to maintain prosperity in this world, the more it will be required of us to forsake all for the sake of Jesus. There will be many who carry the name of Jesus that discourage us, stating that we should just do as we are told and enjoy a safe, comfortable, and prosperous life.
They will go so far as to slander those who stand with Jesus, saying that we are afflicted because we denied the ways of their false savior.
To be a devil means to be a slanderer, and the more this world is ruled by slanderers, the more the people of God can expect to be persecuted, imprisoned, and killed because of false accusations.
Though we appear to be poor in this world, Jesus says that we are rich. We are rich in our service to Jesus and He rewards us accordingly, and the most important reward is the crown of life.
Jesus tells us not to fear the things we suffer. Whether it is poverty, being hated by our Christian neighbors, or enduring false accusations that lead to imprisonment and execution, we know that Jesus is with us and there is no thing that we have suffered that He did not suffer first.
Jesus did not live a rich, honored life like the religious leaders of His day. Jesus was not accepted by His people. Jesus was slandered, arrested, beaten, and killed—all at the hands of His own. He knows what we will go through and He makes a way for us to endure the same. He was victorious and so will we be when we are raised at His coming.
Jesus is the first and the last. He was dead and He is alive!
Although we might not escape the first death that comes at the hands of our traitorous enemies who claim to worship God but instead worship this world, through faithfulness to Jesus and the grace of God that makes it so, we will not suffer the second death—which is the final, everlasting death that no man will escape.
Jesus says that we will endure devils (slanders) so that we might be tried.
There will come a time when we see what we Christians truly worship. Do we worship Jesus or do we worship this world? How much are we willing to lose for His sake?
“Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”– Jesus (Matthew 16:25)
I wrote in These Things Saith He: Contents that I will publish the drafts here first and offer opportunity for others to share their thoughts before the final work is completed.
I’m open to and greatly value the insight, experiences, and thoughts of my Christian brethren because we are a body knit together in Christ that is meant to work together without over reliance on our leaders. I am not your leader, but I do try to be faithful to what I have received to the best of my ability, and I look to Jesus for gracious judgment of my service and the service of all who truly love Him.
All Chapter Drafts: These Things Saith He