"I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the isle that is called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 1:9).
Revelation directs us to keep the words of this prophecy—to make a primary life goal to be a faithful witness, to not fear death of any sort, to have a good testimony for Jesus.
The word translated "testimony" in this verse is a Greek word from the root martyria from which we get our English word "martyr." The apostle John experienced a form of death because of his marytria, his "testimony of Jesus." That form of death was exile.
We tend to think of a martyr as someone who has his physical life terminated as a result of his witness for Jesus. But a faithful witness for Jesus can experience many different forms of death. Faithful obedience can cost His servants the death of relationships, opportunities or status when they are rejected for their witness. It caused John to be separated from all he knew and loved.
Being a martyria is not determined by how we physically die. We establish a good or poor testimony based on the way we live our lives.
If we live the life of a faithful witness, we set up a life completely at odds with the world system. There is a price to pay; it could cost us our life. But most likely it will cause us to be separated from something else—perhaps a position or a relationship. We should expect it to cause us rejection by the world—to not fit in or belong in the dominant culture.
Jesus instructs the churches through the book of Revelation: Difficult things are going to happen; it is going to be pretty tough, but hang in there. Keep trusting. Keep obeying. Keep walking faithfully. Have a good martyria. If you do, you're going to receive amazing blessings.
Jesus promises to make our obedience worthwhile. This message applies to any of us who read, understand and do what John admonishes—to live a good testimony for Jesus.
The book of Revelation centers around a very simple message. This episode of the Yellow Balloons Podcast is the third in a devotional series on the value and messaging in Revelation. We pray it spurs you on toward faithful obedience to Christ.
The Yellow Balloons team is committed to influencing individuals and organizations towards choosing a true perspective. Throughout all the diverse circumstances of life, we have the power to make choices and live life above our circumstances. Yellow Balloons provides free resources such as books, podcasts and devotionals which can be found at yellowballoons.net.
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