December 3, 2007 Ration
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.
Artist, whatever your suffering is or is to be, if you love God, and more foundationally, if God loves you, your suffering is not in vain (Rom 8:28). So do not fear, but be faithful unto death.
Have you put death to death in your mind and heart? Until you do, you will have many masters. Until you do, the war for your faith will have unnecessary battles and losses. You will and must have battles to fight. These are for your testing. The battle is where your faith is matured. The battle is where your greatest work is forged: Faithfulness unto Death!
Artist, are you prepared? Have you put the fear of death to death by entrusting your life, your soul, your reputation, your provision, your satisfaction, your joy, your worth, your toil, your harvest to Christ who has already put death to death (Heb. 2:14-15)? Or will your prison of suffering be only a prison; a suffering that hardens your heart against the One who is working all things together for your good?
TAKE COURAGE, ARTIST, and lift up your shield of faith. Be faithful unto death and God himself will give you the crown of life! The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death! The one who conquers will forever be immersed in the grandness and glory of God Almighty to enjoy every emanation of Gods own enjoyment! Death, where is your sting and victory? Deaths venom is victorious only where the fear of death is embraced and faith in Christ is discarded. This is why Jesus says, do not fear what you are about to suffer, believers of Smyrna. Death cannot scare you if you are not afraid of it. Christ has conquered death! And you are His! So conquer your fears of suffering and death with a bold faithfulness to God.
For most of us, our suffering will not be a prison of iron that we are locked into. Most of our prisons of suffering will look otherwise. All the same, do not fear them. Put on faith, and enjoy the incomprehensible peace of God in the suffering studio as He chisels away your corruptible flesh to reveal the immortal child of God that He is making. Fear feels the chisel only as a destroyer, but faith hears the hammers blow as the march of the Liberator. He who has an ear, let him hear the Liberator in his sufferings!
Artist, be faithful unto death in your sufferings of various kinds. Embrace them, not with your muscle only, but embrace them with faith in Christ who raises the dead. Only from faith should your muscle move, and not without. Do not abhor your sufferings. They work for your good. Rather, abhor your fears. Sufferings are the fires that make you malleable for shaping into a work that is useful, a work that God will not be ashamed to burn His brand on - the only brand that will protect you from the second death.
So do not fear what you are about to suffer, artist. And be alert that the fear of man will only enslave you to unnecessary sufferings. Be bold in faith, articulate in your artistry whatever God shows you of Himself, and let us all enjoy God with you. The crown of life awaits the artist who conquers these tests in faith!
© 2007 The Gaius Project