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A life of patient endurance (Revelation 1:9)

The Christian life is not meant to be an easy one. John writes in Revelation 1:9,

I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

It's notable how John identifies himself here. Though he was an Apostle and had Christ-given authority over the church, he prefers here to identify himself with the church instead of over it. He was their brother and partner. Good leaders, by the way, will be this way with their churches. They won't see themselves as a majestic ruler, but rather as a shepherd among the people.

He was furthermore a brother and partner "in the tribulation." He was with them in their suffering. Also, "in the kingdom." He was with them in the expansion of Christ's kingdom via the gospel. And also, "and the patient endurance." Just as the flock had to endure suffering patiently, so did the Apostle John and the rest of the Apostles who were now in glory.

All three of these things were "in Jesus." The suffering, the kingdom, and the patient endurance were all in Christ. It is He who unites us all in all of these things.

John "was on the island of Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus." He wasn't on this island for a vacation. He was there because he has been exiled from Rome. This was a common punishment of the time. And the reason he was exiled was the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. He was exiled because of the gospel.

Are you ready for this kind of life? A life of tribulation for the kingdom, a life of patient endurance? This is the kind of life that not only John and his audience were called to, but so are we. The world hates us because it hated Jesus before us. Steel yourself, Christian, because this is the assignment you signed up for. But take heart, Christ has overcome the world. After patient endurance, we will receive our reward: Christ Himself and His eternal kingdom.

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