Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 21, 2015
I, John, your brother and companion (sharer and participator) with you in the tribulation and kingdom and patient endurance [which are] in Jesus Christ, was on the isle called Patmos, [banished] on account of [my witnessing to] the Word of God and the testimony (the proof, the evidence) for Jesus Christ. Revelation 1:9, The Amplified Bible
Followers of Jesus travel along paths of inevitable tribulation (trouble). As citizens of God’s kingdom, our life in Christ invites trials. Jesus is very clear, “in Him we will suffer persecution.” Nominal “Christians” who embrace the world are not a threat to the world. But those who are ruled by Christ will rule with Christ—not just later, but now. Righteous rulers are cause for the unrighteous to be uncomfortable. Adversaries of Jesus seek to discredit His followers. Jesus suffered unjust accusations, we can expect the same. Tribulations test our faithfulness.
John writes as a fellow partaker of suffering for Christ’s sake. He had matured beyond his early days of seeking Kingdom power for selfish motives to submission to King Jesus as a spirit filled servant of the Lord. Exiled by his persecutors to isolation and virtual martyrdom, he remained true to the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Since by faith he sided with his Savior—John had all he needed at his side. The best adversity is an adversity not wasted on fear.
“If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you” (1 Peter 4:14).
What blessings are behind your tribulation? Perhaps unfair allegations are softening your family’s hearts—drawing them closer to each other and closer to Christ. Persecution flushes out false faith and validates genuine trust. Because of your bold belief in Jesus, you may be labeled narrow minded—even bigoted, but you know in your heart God’s love motivates you. Integrity may cost you; if so—remain humble—knowing you suffer reproach for the sake of the gospel. Christ followers are partakers of Christ’s suffering. Blessings come when we suffer for His sake.
How can we patiently endure tribulation as active citizens in God’s kingdom? One way is to support fellow followers of Jesus who have been exiled for their faith. We become a refuge of help, healing and hope. Soldiers of the faith need our assistance when they are wounded by the world. Moreover, during persecution we stay faithful to the Word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ—His death for our sin and His resurrection over death. Persecution is our chance as true believers to overcome untruths by our love. A reality: a life in Christ experiences tribulation.
“All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering” (2 Thessalonians 1:5).
Prayer: Heavenly Father use tribulation in my life to grow my trust in You.
Application: How can I patiently endure trials? Who suffers persecution that I can help?
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