“I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14, ESV)
In the seventh chapter of Revelation, John describes a scene that ought to excite every one of us. He describes, in vivid and picturesque language, the victory of the Lord’s people. He says they are standing before the throne of God and the Lamb, clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. As they stand before the throne, they are praising God with loud voices and saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb. A grand scene where everyone in heaven is worshipping and praising God. When asked who these people are, John is told that this that these people are the ones who have been victorious over this world and its temptations. These people have laid it all down, followed Jesus no matter the cost, and have now been rewarded for their faith in Jesus.
In our modern context of ease and tranquility, it is hard for us to understand or get excited about the promise of victory.
We live in a time of soft, easy to follow Christianity. An era marked by what some call, “polite nibbling around the edges of the faith” and the word of God. A time when the most popular message in Christendom is one of ease, joy, and victory. The call to follow Jesus, no matter the cost, has lost its edge. Multitudes line up to be saved but no one is willing to suffer for Jesus. The powerful words of Jesus about being hated for His sake and choosing Him over family and friends are easily brushed aside for comfort.
It’s no wonder we feel such a disconnect with the people of God in the Scriptures. It’s no wonder we struggle to connect with the “Heroes of the Faith” of Hebrews eleven. In our modern world of never knowing anything but Jesus, faith, and the American dream, we have created a generation of Christians who cannot understand the idea of laying down our lives for Jesus. We read the stories of the apostles and wonder how they could really do such things as leave their families and jobs behind to follow Jesus. Yet, don’t ever miss the fact that God calls these people “overcomers.” That faithful group of disciples walked through fire and suffering for Jesus and are rewarded with an eternity in heaven.
The reason I bring this up is to shake us from our sleep. As the apostle Paul said in Ephesians 5:14-16, “… “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
I want all of us, myself included, once and for all, to commit to Jesus as real disciples who are willing to lay it all on the line for Him. I want us to follow Jesus, no matter where it leads us or costs us. I want to see the day we can stand victorious in the presence of God and the Lamb, and worship with the hosts of heaven because we counted the cost and stayed faithful to Him. I want each of us to be called, “God’s Overcomers.”