3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. (Revelation 2:3-4 ESV)
Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Revelation 2:10 ESV)
I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. (Revelation 2:19)
I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. (Revelation 3:1-2)
How many of these congregants thought they were doing the right thing day in and day out until these letters arrived? How would we evaluate our own personal, spiritual lives?
Many of us in America today live in a state of spiritual gluttony. Donald Whitney points this out in his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. And, I find it quite fitting in light of these letters written thousands of years ago. Just as they did, we would likely come up a little short during a truly honest evaluation.
Just take a minute to think about the opportunities to spiritually gorge yourself surrounding you on any given day.
How many . . .
churches within an hour drive?
Bible studies offered at those churches on any given day of the week?
Christian kids’ programs in the evenings?
Bibles on bookshelves around your home?
Christian radio stations within your area? (or jump on the internet)
Podcasts? Books? Bookstores? Christian counselors? Christian schools?
With this smorgasbord ever at our disposal, our problem is not lack of opportunity for spiritual growth, but rather a spiritual food coma.
Sometimes we sit back, content to soak in God’s love and goodness toward us. Other times we find an isolated place to ponder a recent conviction or teaching. We might even pull together a few fellow Christians and dissect a passage, sermon, or book yet again after a teaching or personal reading. But, for what purpose?
17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:17-19)
I’ve been in a little season of having my soul restored after some painful experiences in the church, but there comes a time to step out again. Not leaving behind bible study or prayer, but putting it all into practice and shining my light out in my neighborhood and community once again. Time to walk off those spiritual calories and regain some of the muscle that weakened. My faith is not meant to be a quiet one; it might be personal, but definitely not private.
Dear Lord, thank you for a much needed season of healing, but help me not to fall into the traps of the churches in Revelation and mistake my spiritual study for growth. Help me put to action all I have soaked in and shine more brightly for you in the fresh way of Your crafting. In Jesus name, Amen.