The previous day had been difficult. Then that night I had gotten too little sleep, the weather turned cold and rainy. How comfortable my bed covers felt and how cold the apartment was. Not a “zippity-do-dah” day! I wasn’t prepared for what happened at work that morning when I ended up with two phone calls from what I will politely call “screamers”. Definition: customers who assume if they don’t like the explanation that they should keep ratcheting up the volume hoping to beat the other person into submission. I was rattled.
A BELIEVER IN A VIRULENT SOCIETY
After a few other things that went wrong, I finally arrived home and nestled into the couch. Within ten minutes, the phone rang and it was just what Doctor God ordered. My friend at the other end is also a believer who also finds the work world, especially in the existing culture, challenging. We had a lively discussion regarding what it means to be a believer in a hostile and increasingly virulent society. If you still exist in a sunny bubble where life is not challenging, either the tide will soon turn on you or else Satan doesn’t feel he has much to fight over in your life, especially with the decisions you have been making.
CHURCH LIFE CAN BE MESSY
What does God say in light of this? “Remember your roots.” It’s not an hourlong sermon. A common theme to the letters to the 7 churches in the beginning of the Book of the Revelation is that church life can be really messy. False teachers and heresies were coming out of the woodwork, people were getting caught up in following their culture, and a great deal of believers were drifting along with sin. Many were floating along with the current without making waves over what was right and wrong.
In Revelation chapter 3:1-3 is the note for the church at Sardis: I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.
NO ONE PLANS ON LIVING SPIRITUALLY DEAD
“Dead” is not exactly a stellar description. Goggle defines the word as: “deceased, extinct, lifeless, referring to something that does not have or appear to have life. Dead is usually applied to something that had life but from which life is now gone.” I don’t think anyone in Sardis ever got up in the morning and planned that day to live as if they were spiritually dead, however they had slowly adopted a new persona. God was fed up. He was saying, “Run back to the basics! Remember what it felt like to be spiritually new in Christ? Recall what you earlier would have staked your life on? Turn around back to Me. If you don’t, things will definitely not go well.” (My paraphrase).
SPACE IN BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL
I recently read a well-researched novel about the persecution of the Jews in WWII. The plot’s location is Poland, where at least 3,000,000 Jewish people lost their lives. This quote stayed with me: “There is evil and there is good and there is the space between. We are given free will to choose where we stand. Evil thrives when good men choose the space between.” Barratt, Amanda. Within These Walls of Sorrow: A Novel of World War II Poland)
THERE IS HOPE
To those of us who have been merely floating along with the current, there is hope. In Revelation 3:19-21, Christ says: I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.”
RUN BACK TO YOUR FIRST LOVE
Yes, as a believer, maybe you are having a rough time right now. I believe that life will grow increasingly difficult. However, don’t just walk, but run back to your First Love, Jesus Christ. Let Him give you the backbone you need and the wisdom for these times. There will be lots of days ahead that will rattle the bones of all believers. Remember your roots!