In the book of Revelation (chapters 2 & 3), John shares Jesus' words of encouragement and challenge to 7 churches. In this mini-series, "Whoever Has Ears...", we are learning about what Jesus saw in these 7 churches and how his encouragement and challenge applies to us today.
Some suggest that the challenges facing these 7 churches show the chronological development of Church history and the regression of the faith, devotion, and commitment of the Christian Church over time. One could make an argument that the regression of the faith, devotion, and commitment of the Christian Church is simply a reflection of that same regression of the individual/collective members of the church family.
As we learn from these 7 churches, an important (& very difficult) thing for us as believers to do is to ask ourselves how many of these boxes (stages of faith regression) can I check, for myself, in my life of faith?
Step #2 - The church in Smyrna..."Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer" (Revelation 2:10).
Fear is a real thing. Trials, suffering, pain, and other hardships are real things. Although real, they all are temporary. Jesus reminds His Church that He is eternal & the life He offers to us is eternal...both now AND forevermore. The hardships we will face in this life will pass and we have the opportunity to accept His gift of a new resurrection life that will be only good and perfect things. All we need to do is follow Him...to be faithful to Him...and all Jesus IS & HAS is ours!
What are you afraid of? How is that hindering your life now & how is that impacting your following Jesus?