Quick note: Today was delayed due to the presence of my grandchildren. They needed me to spend time with them.
Revelation 7; Nehemiah 9:38-10:39; Psalm 102
Nations honor those who have served their countries. Whether they served in government or military situations, these men and women are honored. Sometimes individuals are honored. Sometimes people are honored as a group. Most of recognize the need to recognize those who have served in the military. They have signed a blank check to give even their lives to protect and defend our homes, our native land. Many who serve come back changed in ways that we can’t imagine. We may wonder, sometimes, why we should recognize those in government, but the truth is that those who excel in governing do far more to keep the peace than we imagine. We also remember those who remind us of who we can be, and goad us towards making progress. How can we not honor people like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr.?
When we honor those who’ve gone before, we honor those values that we think are important: duty, courage, honor, accomplishment. While no one we honor as a nation would be called “perfect” by those who knew them best, we tend to honor people who have those qualities in their character. As followers of Christ, we focus our honor on Christ, although we tend to remember the accomplishments of followers of Christ who have faced great dangers and overcome by the power of God. There are more than most of us know of. They are not forgotten in heaven, even the unknown ones. “Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?’ I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’” (Revelation 7:13-14)
These people were heroes of the faith. As the great tribulation grew and swept over the known earth, they stayed true to their faith and commitment to Jesus. Their conflicts with the world didn’t soil their garments, instead, they washed their robes white using the blood of the Lamb. There are probably many from that group who had friends and family, many of whom would have called themselves followers of Christ, who encouraged them to go along to get along as trouble started coming down. Each one of them faced the temptation of taking the easy way out of their troubles. In all of these “encouragements” and temptations, they stayed true to God and His ways.
While most of us will never face the level of persecution that John faced and wrote about in this book, we still face the encouragements to compromise our faith to get along with others or the temptations to take the easy way out of situations knowing that the easy way doesn’t honor God. As followers of Christ, we don’t necessarily remember those who have taught and led us in the faith with statues, instead we honor them by living for Christ ourselves. We commit to a lifestyle that honors Christ and reflects our desire to show duty, courage, honor, and accomplishment in our walk with Christ. I don’t know when Christ will come. I don’t know if we’ll live through the Great Tribulation. I do know that I’m called to remain faithful to Him each day. That’s my commitment.
Oh Lord, when people see me, let them experience a life that is fully committed to following You.