He Offers What No One Else Can

June 11, 2024

“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation,” James 1:12 (NLT). “Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

Few endured more than a guy named Polycarp. John Foxe shares his story in the Book of Martyrs. “Polycarp was so full of the grace of God that those that were present were astonished, and many felt sorry that so Godly a man should be put to death. Nevertheless, Polycarp was carried before the proconsul and condemned to be burned at the stake. ‘Denounce Christ, and you will be released,’ and with a calm and an unexplainable peace, he said, ‘80 and six years I served Him, and He never once wronged me. How can I now turn my back on the King who has saved me? I will not denounce Jesus Christ, so why do you delay? Light the fire.’ And they didn’t even nail him to the stake as they normally did, because they knew he was not going to move.’”

I can’t imagine the horror and the pain of being burned alive. Nothing could have prepared him for that. But, friends, can you imagine when death gives way to life when Jesus returns, and he locks eyes with the one he’s served for 86 years, the First and the Last, his Savior standing there with a victor’s crown in His hand.

“In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God,” begins 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 (NLT). “We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.”

We are challenged to take a long-term view with an eye on the eternal prize. And that is so hard to do in our society, in our culture. All we think about is today and what we’re experiencing right now. Paul assured the Romans that suffering does not compare to the glory that will be revealed. (Romans 8:18).

A relationship with Jesus Christ can relieve our stress. It can save our marriages. It can free us from the confinement of our emotional baggage. It can heal us from our addictions. Yet, the greatest benefit of a relationship with Jesus Christ is that He offers what nobody else can offer: eternal life. Can anything in this world compare to that?

By Elton DeMoraes, D.Min.