“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.”
Revelation 2:10 (NIV)
When we read the advertising on bill boards, in newspapers, and in flyers that come to our front door the products look so enticing, so inviting. It is almost as though the item is calling out to us, “Buy me, buy me.” and you wonder how you lived so long without the item.
Can you imagine a tour agency advertising their boat tours by saying, “This boat trip takes you through stormy waters and there is a risk of the boat sinking. The waters are shark infested. Food on board the boat is plain and there is not much of it. You are expected to wash and dry your own dishes. We do not supply bed linen.”
What person in their right mind would be attracted to this ocean journey? No one I am sure! But this is exactly what the Christian is called to when they believe in Jesus. We must understand that when we come to Jesus we are coming to die to ourselves and become alive to Christ.
Our verse today makes it clear that the Christian life is no Sunday School picnic. Following Jesus has meant suffering and even death for some of His people. In Luke 14:25-35 we read about Jesus warning people to count the cost of being His disciple.
So when we come to Jesus—and later find out the problems that are common among God’s people—there are no surprises. Jesus has warned us that His way is tough and only those who are prepared to fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7) should enlist in His army.
So when I tell you to “hang in there” I am giving you sound biblical advice. As a simple, old Christian song says, “This world is not my home”.
This broken world is no friend to the Christian. Christians are people in transit. We are headed for a city made by God Himself.
Take the long term approach to your problems as our Lord did (Hebrews 12:1-3). God Himself will enable you to hang in there until the glorious day when you see Jesus.