READ : Revelation 6:9-17
Being a Christian is filled with blessing but costly. Sometimes the cost is one’s life, as for those whose souls are seen under the altar in this vision.
As believers, we are involved in a very great, and very real, spiritual battle. When someone trusts in Jesus, they are snatched from Satan’s kingdom to be brought into the kingdom of Christ, and Satan fights back. The “Rider on the white horse” (see yesterday’s devotional) may shoot arrows of love to free us, but Satan shoots arrows of hatred to destroy. Sometimes those arrows result in martyrdom for Jesus’ sake.
Martyrdom is not something only early Christians experienced, as when believers were thrown to lions or used as torches to light the gardens of the Caesars. It characterizes the entire New Testament age, including our own day. According to Our Globe and How to Reach It (1990, Barrett & Johnson), over half of all martyrs 26 million have died in our century!
We can expect increased martyrdom in the future, since the spiritual battle will surely intensify as the coming of our Lord draws closer. We who follow Jesus must realize that we may be among those who will be slain for Christ.
How do we face this reality? The way believers always have by putting our hope in glory, focusing on the “white robe” of victory which Jesus gives to those who are faithful to Him even to death!
Lord, give us grace to be faithful, no matter the cost. Amen.