When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.
The sudden appearance of an altar in heaven seems quite odd at first. It’s somewhat out of place because we’ve become accustomed to the presence of thrones, crowns and other symbols of power, glory and majesty. Unlike the throne of God, the altar is a symbol of suffering, sacrifIce and death.
Beloved, we kid ourselves if we assume that our spiritual journey is all a bed of roses without challenges, pain, suffering and inconvenience! At any rate, there’s no worthwhile achievement even in the natural that doesn’t cost you anything.
How much more when it comes to our eternal investment! Persecution in one form or another is an inevitable part of following Christ. As in the beginning so it is now: following Christ is costly.
In our world today Christians continue to be the world’s most oppressed religious group, with persecution against them reported in 110 countries. Currently, 76% of the world’s population live in countries with high levels of religious restriction.
Our Lord states categorically: “If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will save it” (Mat 10:38-39).
Let us be willing to endure any kind of persecution–inconvenience, pain, discomfort, mockery, ridicule, rejection or even death– for the sake of the Kingdom of God. It’s worth it!