8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write,
‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: 9 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
11 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”’
In verse 10 Jesus commands the church in Smyrna not to fear the things they are about to suffer. Understand that in this life there will be persecution. We will have struggles, and hardship. We will have our faith tested and we will be attack by evil. There is a significance to the statement you will have tribulation ten days. You see there is a time limit on our sufferings. Jesus knows what we can handle and He strengthens us for the fight. He empowers our steps and He provides strength. We are His and He holds us and takes care of us. He is our protector. He carries us through the storm. However, He tells us to have the mindset that we will be faithful unto the death. For some of us that is exactly what will happen, we will be faithful unto the death and it is death that will reveal the greatest blessing ever imagined, being in the presence of Jesus. It will happen to all of us one day. Yes every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord. Jesus then says that if we are faithful unto death He will give us the crown of life.
Let us take a closer look at this crown. There are five crowns mentioned in the Bible given to followers of Christ regarding different aspects of our walk. Here Jesus says that those who keep the faith until death will receive the crown of life. He also mentions this same crown of life in
James 1:12, Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
We will receive this crown when we proceed in God’s plan by enduring under trials and temptation. The believer who moves forward in God’s call and assignment in the face of difficulty, even martyrdom, will receive this crown.
Let us understand:
a) Testing and trials are part of the Christian life. It should be understood that when faced with test and trials many Christians turn back and do not continue on the path God has called them to run on.
b) Jesus said we would have trouble: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
c) “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18)
d) Paul writes to Timothy, “You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith , patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:10,11,12)
e) The doorway to the next level towards fulfilling God’s plan is to endure hardships and persecution.
f) The reward is for “persevering” and remaining “faithful”. The reward is not given for having great faith and getting delivered from the trial or test.
g) We are faithful to the Lord in the trial. The Lord is faithful to reward us for enduring the trial.
As the church in Smyrna were instructed to endure so are we. We must remain faithful and know that our Lord and Savior has for us the crown of life.
Brother Big Daddy