After trying to get to grips with the frightening images that the apostle John has written down thus far in this book, what jumped out at me was verse 12: ‘Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus’.
As we approach Christmas, and I look at the consumerism and materialism that is intermeshed in the world, and at how the secular world has slowly changed this joyous occasion in the Christian calendar to another “happy holiday”, I can see the “beasts” that John so vividly describes.
As we continue reading the book of Revelation, we will see that our Lord triumphs. As Christians, we have the amazing privilege of knowing how the story ends – God’s children, in glory with Him forever, in a restored creation. But we need to endure in the face of the gods of this world, live our lives according to God’s commandments and patiently keep our faith in Jesus as we wait for Him to come again.
In our westernised society, it is easy to say that we must endure when we don’t face the direct hardships of the persecuted church. The persecution that we face is primarily, made up of very subtle concessions that the media and the world ask us to make to God’s commandments that are very clearly and unambiguously spelt out in scripture. These concessions can so easily lead us off the narrow path of the Way. In the process Satan accomplishes his purpose of condemning us to an eternity without God. The frightening thing for us is that the persecuted church, which faces direct physical, economic and mental persecution, is more resilient than we are! Best we follow their example and heed the call to endure … even today!
Prayer: Lord, in the face of pressure through the media and sarcastic comments from friends, colleagues and family, give me the strength, through Your Holy Spirit, to make a stand and live my life with the freedom granted by Your Word and not shackled to the world. Amen