“So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own,” [Matthew 6:31-34]
“The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God,”
[1 Corinthians 8:2-3]
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her,” [Proverbs 3:5-15]
“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ,” [1 Corinthians 2:14-16]
Jesus wants us to walk with Him. He doesn’t promise to walk with us, He wants us to walk with Him. In other words, He’s the Leader. Jesus tells the Christians in Thyatira that those who have not “soiled their clothes” will walk with Him, dressed in white because they are worthy. Jesus explains that righteousness comes to those who accept His ways and keep in step with Him. Sometimes well-meaning authors or song writers try to convey that idea that Jesus kind of “comes along with us.” And while it is true that He does go with us wherever we go, remember that He is the Leader, we don’t tell Jesus where to go –He is changing us, we can’t manipulate Him.
We are told many times in the Scriptures to trust God’s ways completely and to never trust our own ways or the ways of this world. If someone considers himself well-versed in the ways of this world and thinks he has a level of knowledge that gives him the right to be heard, the Word tells us that this person really doesn’t know anything. But the person who knows God is known by God –a far better status, a far better position in which to be. In fact, Jesus admonishes us to not even worry about what we will eat, drink or wear; God will take care of those matters. Instead, seek the Kingdom of God and its righteousness first and everything else will take care of itself. Don’t worry about tomorrow because today has enough concerns of its own. Jesus makes it pretty clear: Righteousness and the Kingdom of God are THE most important things you can seek. Everything else is in God’s hands. He even says, “You cannot serve both God and money (mammon). This is why God teaches us to tithe; it’s a foundational Kingdom principle. If we give a tenth of what we get, every time, we put God first and all our other concerns second –and God takes care of the rest. This is why Solomon talks about trusting the Lord and not trusting your own understanding of things in Proverbs, chapter three, and the very next thing he says is, “Give the Lord your tithe –that’s a good test of your trust. Wow. That sure takes a lot of trust, doesn’t it? Christians who fully trust in the Lord, even more than they trust themselves, will be blessed by God. This is why Jesus commends the righteous, faithful remnant in Sardis. He uses them as an example for the majority of the worldly Christians in Sardis: Walk like these Christians do, repent so that your names will not be blotted out of the Book of Life. Righteousness is very important to Jesus, and it is attained only if one lives by faith. To walk with Jesus means to trust Him completely and allow Him to take the lead in all matters; we’ve just got to keep our eyes on Him, sensitive to where He’s going and what He’s trying to teach us. We follow Him wherever He goes, and when we do this we walk with Him in righteousness –and we don’t “soil” our clothing.
There were many Christian in Sardis who were aware of the Word of God. They knew what was right and what was wrong, but they CHOSE to ignore the truth because they felt it would make life too complicated. Have you ever caught yourself thinking this way?: “The Message of the Gospel is ideally the perfect way to live… but who can really live like that? I’m not a bad person… certainly God doesn’t expect me to try and be that perfect…”
The Church in Sardis was predominantly held captive to this line of thinking. They believed they could simply believe in God and yet live a more “practical and realistic” life. Jesus had some pretty harsh words for the Christians in Sardis who felt this way. They left themselves completely vulnerable to the enemy. Unwittingly, they had allowed the enemy to maneuver them right into the philosophy that they had adopted: I can believe like a Christian, but I don’t have to live like one to be saved. To this, Jesus lets them know that they are in danger of being “blotted out” of the Lamb’s Book of Life; that’s a pretty serious warning. This is why Jesus told them, “You have a reputation of being alive, but you’re dead.”
It’s not enough to look Christian, we have to BE Christian. We will never fool God. And He loves us too much to ignore our condition. Paul said, “The righteous shall live by faith.” And James said, “Faith, if not accompanied by deeds, is dead.” Our Christian walk with Jesus demands that we do good deeds for Him. In fact, our relationship with Him compels us by His Spirit to do such things. Our new nature is a reinvigorated nature that chooses life over death. We are not operating under our own energy when we keep in step with Jesus –we are serving by the Spirit of God, which causes us to truly live in an abundance of life. But when something of this world holds our hearts captive, we have difficulty keeping up with Jesus, and we slide into a worldly perception of Christianity, which states: “Jesus, I’m going here or there. You’re welcome to come along if you like.” But don’t change Jesus. This is just another form of idolatry where we try to “remake” Jesus into our own perception of what we think He should be. Don’t do that. Allow the Word to convict you. Allow the Spirit to speak to you. Confess to God and people when you have sinned –and God will always be faithful to forgive us in Christ. Be open to the fact that you might not be right. Allow the Word, the Son of God, to teach you, each step of the Way.
Love in Jesus,