“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body,” [1 Corinthians 6:19-20]
“You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds,” [Psalm 73:24-28]
Do you have a nemesis? Is there someone, somewhere in your life who sometimes behaves in a wicked manner and always seems to get away with it? This can be very unsettling, to say the least, and tempts us to worry about our future. People like Asaph and David noticed that the wicked seem to prosper but reminded themselves of the final outcome of all things. God rewards those who trust in Him. God will punish the wicked. Sometimes it is hardest for us to trust God when everything is going great –because we tend to trust ourselves a little too much. People who love God seem to be dealt more than their fair share of suffering but God allows us to suffer that we might trust Him more. It’s hard for us to grasp sometimes that God actually allows His people to suffer more because He loves them so much! A truly humble and thankful heart can find occasion to praise God even in the toughest of times –because if we trust Him the way we should, there’s always an occasion to give Him thanks.
The church in Thyatira had a serious problem: They had a troublemaker (and that’s understating the situation) who had appointed herself “queen.” Whoever she was, Jesus called her “Jezebel.” There aren’t a lot of people who choose to call there children “Jezebel” or “Judas” (and if they did, you would really wonder about them!). Not only did this woman behave wickedly, but she pushed her agenda on people in the church. And Jesus was not happy that the church was tolerating her behavior. Wickedness of this caliber has a very cancerous effect when it is allowed to grow among God’s people. Have you been exposed to people recently in your life who not only behave wickedly, but try to push you into doing what they do –or, at the very least, try to force you into saying that what they do is “O.K.”? When evil behavior is permitted to come out into the open, it’s only a matter of time before God’s people are persecuted for disagreeing. But never forget, God rewards those who trust Him. He has bought us with a price; we are not our own –we belong to Him. We are His temple for His Spirit now. Beware of the enemy’s myriad of schemes to set up idols in your temple. We are warned about the spirit of godlessness that is increasingly prevalent in this age:
"Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them,” [Romans 1:28-32]
Whatever the world may choose to do in opposition to God, don’t take part. And do what you can to express the truth in a loving and gracious spirit: “God loves you. I love you. But God disapproves –and what He says is what really matters.” Christians who really care about the eternal state of godless people will pray for and seek an opportunity to share the life-saving truth of the Gospel with them.
The Christians of the early church didn’t fit in with what the world considered acceptable (or even mandatory) behavior. Jesus basically told the Christians in Thyatira that He was coming to deal with the problem –and it was going to be pretty severe for everyone; lethal sickness often requires severe medicine. And Jesus left the Christians with this challenge: “Hold on to what you have until I come.” The idea is not so much “just endure until I get there” as it is “use what you have, don't lose what you've gained, and overcome.” We spend a lot of time worrying about or wishing for what we don’t have when we could be focusing on what we do have and win some significant victories for Jesus. Never tolerate wickedness, but confront it with God’s love. This is never easy, it often makes waves –but this is the kind of tough love that Jesus shows to us. He wants us to show tough love to others. In every case, all we need to overcome the world or our current difficulties is Jesus –and whatever Jesus has already given us. Use what you’ve got.
Love in Jesus,