Open Heavens Devotional by Pastor E.A. Adeboye
MEMORIZE: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13).
READ: John 13:36-38
One crucial issue from the story of the city of Smyrna was how a city in ruins could turn into a beautiful city 300 years later. This tells us that no matter how long you have remained in your backslidden state, if you can take the step of repentance and return to the Lover of your soul today, you will be forgiven and restored. A lesson from the story of this city is the killing of Policarp, the Bishop of Smyrna. The Jews in Smyrna were quite hostile to the church. When Policarp was 86, some persecutors surrounded him and tied him to a stake, preparing to set him ablaze. He was to be spared only if he recanted his faith and denied Christ. However, he replied that if the Lord had been faithful to him for the past 86 years, why should he deny Him now? In their fury, they set him ablaze, but he did not burn. Then in angst a soldier stabbed him, and he began to bleed, and he kept bleeding until the fire around him was quenched by his blood. He became one of the earliest martyrs who died for Jesus Christ, and his death strengthened the faith of others.
With modernization and technological advancement, it becomes more and more difficult for believers to put their lives on the line. But should technological development erode your faith in Christ? The sophistication in Smyrna did not stop believers from being committed to the Lord until death. The less committed you are to Christ, the more devoted to Satan, the world and your flesh you become. Do you love Jesus to a point of dying for Him? Can you face hunger, humiliation, job loss, demotion, and intense persecution because of your faith in Christ? To what extent are you prepared to reciprocate Christ’s Love? He loved you to the extent of counting His life as nothing. His love for you brought about His innocent, untimely death. Yet, even after His death, He went to prepare a place for you in eternity. In other words, His death on the Cross of Calvary fully settled all the needs and challenges in your life, as well as securing a place for you in eternity. Why can’t you love Him to the point of dying for Him or His cause? People are dying for wrong causes today. Can you die for the Lord like Policarp did? Ask for grace to love Jesus to the extreme.
Father, let the sophistication in my city and country not take away your love from my heart.
Bible in One year: John 11-13