Revelation 2:23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.
This is not a feel-good message! Ever since Creation we have tended to misunderstand God’s love and grace and fail to grasp His holiness and righteousness. That can be fatal, both physically and spiritually. We are not to think we can earn God’s favor, but we must also never think that our actions don’t matter. They have consequences, one way or another. Even small things build up into habits and patterns, changing the whole course of our life. Very seldom do we encounter huge turning points, where one way will follow God and the other depart from Him. Rather, choices and actions that seem insignificant to us color our thinking and actions to the point that the big choices are settled before we get to them. The thing is, we aren’t smart enough to figure it out ahead of time, and if we think we are, we have already put ourselves into a very dangerous place of competition with God. That’s why parenting is such a huge responsibility: the patterns we help our children set will stay with them through their lives, for good or for bad. (Proverbs 22:6) That’s not to say that people can’t change or be healed of emotional hurts or anything like that. Far from it! However, people can be set up for either success or failure from a remarkably young age. That’s not to put a guilt trip on anyone. There are no perfect parents, and every individual is accountable for their own actions and reactions. Kim Il Sung, the first dictator of North Korea, was the son of a pastor who was one of the leaders of a massive move of God. We need to pay attention to our own lives, to see whether our daily patterns are pleasing to God or not. Some people are reporting that the shutdown from the virus has caused them to rediscover what it means to be a family. That is a huge benefit! The point is not to forget the things God teaches us. It is in daily, consistent faithfulness that we grow to be the mature children God desires, and we draw others to do the same.
As I look back over my own life there have been a few dramatic decisions, most notably the decision to marry my wife, but actually, very few. I am deeply grateful for God’s gracious protection, because I can recognize some moments of grave danger that He brought me through. Other than giving me a helper suitable for me, (Genesis 2:18) perhaps the greatest blessing has been in leading me into a consistent devotional time every morning. One day might not make much of a difference, but the fact that I do it every day, year in and year out, has had a huge impact on my life. Recognizing that, I do all I can to encourage the believers to be faithful and consistent in setting aside time with the Lord each day. The difference between those who do it and those who don’t can be striking. I am not to condemn, but I am always to speak the truth in love, encouraging them to draw near to the One who loves them more than they imagine, so that He may cleanse and heal them for their salvation and His glory.
Father, thank You for this Word. There is so much I want to share with others! Thank You for the message You’ve given me for Sunday. Guide me now in getting that laid out as You intend, so that Your Word may communicate to all who hear, working Your will in and through them for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!