February 20 I Tuesday
“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” —Revelation 3:22
Amidst all the difficult imagery in Revelation are seven letters to seven churches scattered across Asia Minor. Each letter begins with an incredible description of Jesus, followed by commendation for what each church has done well. However, five of the churches had something fundamentally wrong with them, and Jesus sends His letters through John to get them back on track.
The church in Ephesus had forsaken its first love. The congregation had allowed other interests to take priority over their love for God, and Jesus warns that this church would not survive if it failed to repent of this. The churches in Pergamum and Thyatira were both called out for allowing outside influences to sway their teaching. Pergamum had tried so hard to relate to the culture around them that it was now hard to tell the church’s teaching apart from cultural beliefs. Thyatira had tolerated teaching contrary to the Word of God, particularly about sexuality, which now made it difficult for them to stand against popular opinion.
The church in Sardis had started depending on its reputation instead of Christ and was dying out because of it. They thought others would be drawn to their good deeds and appearance of vitality, but Jesus warns Sardis that it had grown detached from Him, the source of life. Finally, the church in Laodicea was “neither hot nor cold” (Revelation 3:16), meaning complacency had replaced firm conviction, while their material wealth kept them ignorant of their spiritual poverty.
Unfortunately, we are often not surprised when an older church experiences problems like these and fades into obscurity, but the churches in these letters were still relatively young. They had only been around for a generation or two, yet they had lost their vitality after being sidetracked by other things. This is a sobering reminder for our churches today, as well as for our own walk with God. It is easy to begin ministry with God passionately, but that passion can quickly fade if years of the daily grind and spiritual warfare slowly shift our attention from Christ.
Jesus’s solution is simple: stop what we are doing, review, remember, repent and revive. To continue in the path that made us lose our first love is spiritually destructive. It is healthy for both churches and the people within them to regularly re-evaluate whether our priorities align with the Word of God. This spiritual element is vital; otherwise, we are simply rearranging furniture. When we connect with the mind of God and listen for His voice, He will reveal where our priorities have shifted, as He did with the churches in Revelation, revitalizing our ministries and centring our lives
back on Him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me look deep within myself to see where I have prioritized other things over my love for You. Let me hear Your voice and be moved by Your convictions. Thank You, God.