Revelation 2:10 says: “Fear none of those things which you will suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life.” This verse was written to Christians who were being persecuted because of their faith in the Lord. In a very real way, being faithful unto death meant unto the point of death. Even if they were asked to lay their life on the line, they should do so willingly.
Some will tell you that Christians today are not asked to suffer persecution as did New Testament Christians. Are they saying God is a respecter of person? (Acts 10:34) Are they saying what God requires of one generation differs from another? (1 Cor 4:17) If so, they are telling you God’s Word changes from generation to generation. Paul wrote, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim 3:12). Peter wrote, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 4:16). James wrote, “Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him” (Jam 1:12). David wrote, “The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; Fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup” (Ps 11:5-6). It is true that most are not willing to suffer for the cause of Christ and thus are in disbelief that God requires them to do so.
The truth is, the more faithful you are to God’s Word the more you will suffer for it. If you are willing to preach God’s Word, teach God’s Word, prove God’s Word, defend God’s Word, and contend for God’s Word, you will suffer for the cause of Christ! The problem is, most are unwillingly to do so. If you stand up against homosexuality, you will suffer for it. If you stand up against greed, you will suffer for it. If you stand up against adultery, you will suffer for it. If you stand up against sin of any kind, you will suffer for it.
You can determine your willingness to serve the Lord in difficult times by how you are serving the Lord now. When the times are unfavorable for spreading the gospel and worshiping the Father above, do you use every opportunity to put the Lord first? Why do you think that you would give up your life for the Lord, when you are unwilling to suffer such reproaches for doing His will? Jesus plainly says to put him first (Matt. 6:33). Let us be concerned about “the good part” that cannot be taken away (Mk. 10:48).
There will always be disappointments. Family trouble, a financial crisis, or even trouble on the job will surely come. These appear unto all men. Christians not only have these problems but also those which come because they are doing the work of the Lord. “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now if the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:17-18).
Satan will be seeking to gain an advantage always. He seeks our spiritual destruction (1 Pet. 5:8). The Lord provides the way of escape. Let us make sure we look for it and use it (1 Cor. 10:13).
Are our possessions possessing us or do we possess them? We have to make ends meet and often have to work seven days a week to accomplish such. Is your soul worth all that you are working for? The things of this life have a way of choking out the true riches that should be in our hearts (Lk. 8:14). Are you working for a good retirement in this life or in the one to come (Lk. 12:15-21)? Faithful stewardship means that we willingly give back to the Lord what is his already (1 Cor. 4:2). The rich fall into a trap that is hard to escape (1 Tim. 6:6-8). Let us not forget to give time to the Lord to worship him, to study His Word, to teach His Word, and to assist all who are in need as we have opportunity.
Conclusion: Let our resolve ourselves to seek first the kingdom of heaven knowing all of our earthly needs will be met. Let everything else be secondary. Put the Lord first. Seek heaven always. Be willing to suffer for the cause of Christ. Be faithful unto death. When we do that, we have the blessings of life now, and in the world to come, eternal life!
“Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time — houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions — and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:29,30).