This week has been no less challenging than any of the previous weeks of my life with my relentless quest to be near to God. I have felt I’ve been slipping further away rather than growing closer to Him and I know it’s because of me. I preach to myself every day about how I need to stay focused on Him if I want a relationship with Him, but then I somehow allow what’s going on around me to affect my thoughts. I’m facing it. It’s hard. So this week, I decided to get into Revelation and remind myself what’s coming.
What I found, though, was not just what the predictions are. I found a list of things to help me keep my focus. I found these rules in each of the letters to the churches in Revelation. I’m hoping it does the trick, although I know it’s me who needs to execute them.
The list is as follows:
1. Remember your first love.
My first true love is Jesus because He is the one who was born specifically for me, to save me from myself and my sinfulness. Who else would sacrifice themselves for me to that extent? Out of complete selflessness and love. Not even my mother, but Jesus Christ did this for me. He is my first love and if I forget Him, I am throwing my existence away.
2. Remain faithful…no matter what happens.
Revelation 2:10 says “Do no not fear any of those things which you about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days, Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
This tells me I am going to see some hard days, weeks or years but I will have the ability to remain faithful because God has told me to. It may be difficult but if I follow rule number 1 (Remember your first love), I will have the strength to remain faithful. It comes with an awesome promise, that I will receive the crown of life.
3. Remember God doesn’t compromise.
God explained what He hates in the Old Testament. If He hated it then, He still hates it now. If we do or allow what He hates, we sin against Him. Period. There is no compromise. We can’t condone what God hates, but here’s the tricky part, we CAN still love everyone the way God does. That means I don’t need to ostracize or belittle people who may be doing something that I believe God hates. That’s not my responsibility, nor am I able to judge anyone since I am just as guilty for doing things that God hates. No, I pray for everyone and love others the way He told me to.
4. Remember to test everything against God’s word.
If someone comes preaching to me and it sounds really good, I need to test what they say with what God says in His word. It must match 100% or it’s deception. Remember, there is no compromise or else, it will allow corruption in.
5. To be alive in Christ is to ACTIVELY live FOR Christ.
How do I do that? My actions show the love for others the way Christ loves us. I must try to imitate Him. Look at Him. All He did was travel from place to place and give people inspiration to live holy, the way God does. He healed people. He forgave them, too. He was the epitome of hope that was visible. If I can show people that hope in me, too, then I am living more for Christ than if I don’t.
Revelation 3:10 Because you have kept My command to persevere; I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
Never give up, never stop doing what I believe is right. That’s perseverance. What do I believe is right? To follow God’s word and obey. It’s hard, but again, I believe God will provide me the strength to obey and persevere. It’s the only way to be the example for all of those other people who may need to see that glimmer of hope.
7. You can’t halfway serve God.
You must be all in. Devoted to Him. This is how to be faithful; never waivering, no matter who you’re with or where you are, stability in Christ is key. Remember my first love is Jesus Christ, so I should be devoted to Him completely. I lose my devotion if I forget He’s my first love.
You see? It’s full circle so it leaves no loose ends for me to go astray. The only variable is me. If I fail to follow one of these rules, then I am in jeopardy of slipping further from Christ than drawing nearer to Him. Talk about a circle of life!