Revelation 3:7-13 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Helen Kim, Gracepoint Berkeley

The Philadelphia church is inspiring in that although it was very difficult for them and they had very little strength, they continued to be faithful, keeping the commands of God  (“. . . [they] kept [God’s] word and have not denied [His] name. . . [and] have kept [God’s] command to endure patiently”).  This is inspiring because they remained faithful to God and did not deny God, even though they had very little strength.  It is inspiring because they understood what was important and sacred and placed that above their personal persecution and lack of strength.  In following God, they denied themselves, including their feelings, body and most likely even their lives, and understood what should be placed above themselves.  I think this is the key ingredient to an inspiring life, when someone denies himself and his own self-interest for the sake of doing what is right and for a higher purpose.  One morning on the ride to work I heard on NPR a story of a soldier who died in battle in Afghanistan and was given the medal of honor.  This soldier kept the enemy at bay by staying in the line of fire, while telling everyone to leave.  This act of bravery saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers, while he sacrificed his own.  In the same way, I can see that the Philadelphia church was in the midst of a spiritual battle to weaken and eradicate the church, yet they did not back down, but understood God’s commands, despite their lack of strength and personal persecution.  They understand that their interest and well being should not come above doing what is right before God and holding the line in the spiritual battle they were in.

I think for me personally, my placement of what is important and should be honored is all wrong.  I so often put myself on the top and put following the word of God at the bottom.  But I need to really see that even though I may personally suffer, I need to place God and following His commands above all.  I need to see that often following Jesus and not denying His name may at times be difficult and will require sacrifice from myself.  One way I can do this and be more like the Philadelphia church is through pure physical denying of my body. I often feel weak or tired to love people, which in real and practical terms, means to go out and meet people when I’d rather stay at home with my family, struggling with them through prayer and often through long talks when I’d rather sleep early, thinking about their issues and problems and trying to help them in concrete ways.  Times like this I feel weak, but despite that feeling I can really push through and obey His commands to love and to not deny His name as a Christian by failing to love people concretely in His name.  Often my physical condition and readiness dictate what I do, like meeting up with someone or not, instead of allowing God’s commands dictate what I do.

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