Thursday, December 12, 2013

Together as Friends

I have always dreaded reading some of the letters
to the churches in Revelation.
I want so much to be a included in a letter to a good church,
and not one of the ones so fearfully rebuked.
But in my Bible reading this morning,
I read two letters -- the one to Philadelphia,
and the one to Laodicea.
I was surprised to find myself encouraged.
To Philadelphia, He said,
"I know the things you do, 
and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. 
You have little strength, 
yet you obeyed My word and did not deny Me."
Philadelphia is one of the good churches.
But here He mentions their weakness.
Could I be weak and still an obedient child He is pleased with?
Could I be too small to open doors for myself,
but He opens them for me anyway?
He goes on,
"Because you have obeyed My command to persevere,
I will protect you...
I am coming soon.
Hold on to what you have,
so that no one will take your crown."

To me, perseverance is great strength.
Pressing on through pain, and adversity.
But He has already mentioned their small strength.
Can you see it?
This is one of the weak things through which He displays His strength.
One of the things which are not.
This church is a conqueror that is not strong.
Isn't He wonderful?

And then I came to Laodicea.
This was a church that felt it had arrived.
They knew how to live.
They were spiritually rich, they thought.
Stockpiled larders: no needs.
Self-sufficient and self-righteous.
Clothed in their own righteousness,
their perfect coverings and medicinal applications.
Somehow they saw themselves as something they weren't.
In reality, they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.
(Just to set the scene I remind you of this background.)
But this morning I noticed the promises.

"Buy gold from Me," He says to them.
"Then you will be rich."
"Also buy white garments from Me 
so you will not be ashamed by your nakedness,
and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see."

It's funny (or maybe tragic) how we revel in us.
Our righteous accomplishments,
our righteous coverings,
and our righteous contrivances for spiritual health.
But compared with His real righteousness,
we stand there naked and blind and unhealthy.
Completely exposed because our coverings don't change us.
They only look good to other blind men.
Anyone with His healing in their eyes can see the holes.
But He offers Himself -- the Lord our Righteousness --
the Light of the world, come into the darkness.
The Treasury of Heaven there for our plundering.
"If you hear My voice and open the door, 
I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends."
Open ears and open doors, and fellowship with Him.

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