Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. — Psalm 37:24
If you are walking with Jesus as you ought to and have a great passion for Him, what kind of reaction should you expect from the world? Answer: persecution. That is because when you love someone, you will suffer as a result. When you love someone, if any harm comes to them, you hurt badly. When you love someone and they are taken from you, you mourn deeply. It is the result of love. Love will cost you.
C. S. Lewis wrote, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.”
If you love God, you also will suffer as a result, because people will attack you for your love for Him. That is what happened with the church of Smyrna in the book of Revelation. Here is what Jesus’ had to say to this suffering church:
I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan. Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.
Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death. (Revelation 2:9–11)
This is the shortest of the seven messages Jesus gave to these churches, and it is interesting to note there are no critical words. Jesus simply commended and encouraged this church. And instead of destroying the church, persecution actually strengthened it.
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