The Holy Spirit, in His whole complexity and perfection (called by Jesus the seven Spirits), and the angels of the seven churches from Asia Minor, belong to Jesus Christ. He is holding the “seven stars” in His right hand, which means that He not only has authority over the churches but they are also very important to Him.
In the letters to the seven churches of Revelation, Jesus is sending messages of both admonishment and correction to the churches, which to Him is not a list of people that completed a membership form, but are those who were truly born again and faithful to the end. If we judge by what we see in the natural, we might say that those who attend church on regular basis are the ones who are spiritually alive. But Jesus sees beyond “appearances” and knows if we live our lives truly lead by the Holy Spirit or if we are sadly really living it according to our carnal nature. He knows everything about us and nothing is hidden from Him.
The problems that Jesus is calling serious attention throughout the letters to the seven churches, are common to all churches throughout history, including to those in today. Hypocrisy was and still is very present in churches and in many Christians lives. It is so common that most of the time, we do not even realize when are hypocrites or being hypocritical, trying to seem more holy than we really are, making sure we look good to other people. It is really helpful for us to never forget that God knows our true hearts and thoughts and sees all our secrets and that we should be much more concerned about what He sees in us and in our behavior, than what other people see.
Are we saved by works? No way! We are saved by grace, but “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). Our works and behavior, are the result of our spiritual condition. It is up to us to be watchful, to analyze our spiritual condition and take the necessary measures to strengthen our faith as we walk on God's path. How we are doing spiritually completely dictates what we think and our actions. If most of the time we meditate upon God's Word, His ways, love and care and we live our lives with the leadership of the Holy Spirit then the outcome is pleasing to the Lord and we will stay on the right path. But if choose our thoughts to be mainly about our problems, other people, temptations and all that is worldly and all too-often the disproportional activities of life, then we are choosing to be carnal and we are deceiving ourselves if we think we are on the right track. Dear Lord please help us see the truth about ourselves and correct what needs to be corrected.
What can we do? It is important to stop and remember what we received when we came to Jesus and what it means when Jesus is the true Lord of our lives. Faith comes by hearing and so does doubt. Hearing the Word of God, produces faith in our hearts. On the other hand, by hearing and paying attention to what the world say on so many matters, we start to doubt that God's power and miracles can work for us and our faith is easily replaced by doubt.
We need to hold fast to our faith and be quick to repent once we realize we sin. Forgiveness of sin comes only after we sincerely repent. We need to recognize the sin, regret it and oftentimes ask for the Lord's help to not repeat it. What is really spooky is when we “sin” and are no longer “sorry” then this is evidence of a huge problem. Only a hardened heart becomes insensitive to sin and if we find our selves in such a position, it should shake us to our very core. We keep a soft and pliable heart, by being watchful, paying attention to what is going on in our heart. If not, Jesus says that He will come upon us “as a thief” meaning suddenly. None of us know when will leave this earth, so we should stay right with God at all times, keeping a clean, soft heart and a pure conscience. Praise God that through Jesus Christ we have all we need to do that.
Faith is the opposite of doubt and the two, can not co-exist. Doubt causes us to wave between belief and unbelief. We should have faith in God's help, care, love, provision, best solution to every bad situation we are facing and in the truth of His Word and promises. But if we listen to the enemy's voice or human reasoning, instead of the Holy Spirit, our trust might be soon be replaced by uncertainty and lack of confidence that God wants to help us out, heal us or perform any miracle for us. Not even the most powerful men of God can say that they have been completely fearless and have not fallen into doubt, worry or concern, when they faced tough situations. But, the more we mature in the Spirit, the less it will take to strengthen up our faith. We are strengthened by remembering how the Lord saw us through with His help and even miracles previously in desperate situations. When we choose to remember or find the Bible verses that reveal God's will in our situations then we are able to be strong in faith and eliminate the doubt. As we start to pray using God's promises, we are increasing our confidence that we will receive what we are asking for. And as we proclaim God's Word as we know it is still true today, we are producing a more concrete faith that will produce the best results.
God is always has a remnant of sincere believers that serve Him with all their hearts, even when the majority doesn't. Even if God's remnant is greatly outnumbered, they refuse to follow the crowd and are fully committed to the Lord and try their best to live right, following the Bible and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. How is this possible? Their true desire to follow Christ and His leadership in every area of their lives. We can be like them, doing what it takes to keep “our spiritual garments” clean. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we are able to not sin on purpose and to overcome temptation, by staying focused on God's Word and refusing thoughts about the lusts of the flesh. As Paul said about himself:
Jesus will dress us up in white garments, if we remain in Him and His Word remains in us (John 15:7). We cannot be branches in the vine, that is Jesus, if we live under the leadership of our carnal nature (our flesh) and not the Holy Spirit.
The meaning of “to be worthy” in Revelation 3:4 (according to Thayer's Greek Lexicon), is to deserve Jesus' fellowship and all the blessings connected with it. We will deserve to spend eternal life with Jesus in Heaven, if we live for Him to the end.
Jesus says that He will “not blot out the name from the Book of Life” the one who is counted worthy and overcomes. This means that there is “the possibility” to have one's name erased from it. Jesus is talking to born-again Christians that have their names written in the Book if Life and He reaffirms that we have to live right until the end to make it to Heaven. If Jesus will not confess our name before Father God and His angels, then we will not be covered by His righteousness, which means that our sins will not be forgiven. As a result, we will pay for them by being separated from God for eternity, which is the second death. This is serious.
Oh Lord, please help us keep our spiritual ears sincerely open and truly sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit, fulfilling what You tell us to do and living in obedience to You every day, because we want to conclude our journey on this earth, in Your arms.
HEALTHY FEAR VS. UNHEALTHY FEAR
The Lord has given us all discernment. Without it, we would not last long in this world. We encounter thoughts and circumstances all day, every day. And healthy fear keeps us from trouble. From learning not to play with fire to not playing on a busy street. From not hurting others' feelings unnecessarily to working well with others at our jobs. Discernment and healthy fear are important. However, unhealthy fear is a danger that we need to all be aware of.
Healthy fear keeps us on the wise path but unhealthy fear subtly opens the door to the enemy. When we give more place to fear than to God's ability to help us through our circumstances, it does at least two things. For one, it is a lack of faith in God and that is really bad. Not only is without faith, impossible to please God but to doubt God including His ability to help us, is a sin. Secondly, when we turn our back on God's provision for our circumstances, we open the door to trouble.
Right choices empower God to work in our circumstances and wrong choices empower the devil and his cohorts to work. It is up to us, who we empower. We cannot give place to the devil and expect to see God move in our circumstances. The sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, has been given to us not only for our defense, but also for our offense; and we must not only stand on His Word, but sometimes we have to apply and wield the Sword. We must pray prayers of faith and eliminate doubt. We must ask the Lord for His wisdom and direction in our challenges.
Wisdom calls out for us to trust God and not fear. All throughout the Bible, we see the Lord exhorting and commanding His people not to have unhealthy fear but rather to put their faith and trust in Him. And just like those who have gone before us, the choice is up to each one of us. Do we listen to the voice of fear or the voice of the Holy Spirit? One is a miserable spring of torment and the other a well-spring of life. Let's choose to truly believe and really trust the Lord, not just in lip service but with all our hearts and in all our ways!
As David, the psalmist, king and giant-slayer, said to the Lord when he was girding himself up:
“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. Psalms 56:3
And as the prophet Isaiah recorded the Word of the Lord:
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'” Isaiah 41:10
And Jeremiah, the weeping prophet whose assignment was to one of the most stiff-necked generations ever, wrote:
"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
And our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, said:
'"And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God.” Luke 12:4-6
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