This age of the church seems to be typified by a lack of zeal. I have been looking at myself to see if I could have more zeal and I discovered that I was in many ways far more lethargic in my thoughts and actions than I was aware of.
Consider that many of us who came out of the WCG age of the church are getting pretty old about now. I mean I’ll be 78 myself in a few months. My life style to say the least is a bit, shall we say, “laid back”. But hey when you get my age we should be taking things a bit easier than before, right?
Hmmmm, well how does that admonition from God about the Laodiceans fit in with us elderly Christians?
To the Church in Laodicea
Rev 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Rev 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Apparently in reading this it becomes apparent that having a “lukewarm” attitude about things stems from the idea that we do not need anything. And it also involves a lack of awareness of our true condition. Verse 17 says that we do not know that we are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked? WOW! How is it that we can think that we are “rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing”?
I think what is going on is what was going on in my life to a degree. I simply was not focused on the moment! Those of us that are older will get what I am saying. We tend to get into comfortable ruts if you will. We have done the same things for so long and done them well that we know longer have to ‘think” about what we are doing. AND we like it like that.
As Christians, living God’s way of life and following the rules that He laid down for us for so long now, they have become a familiar “pattern of behavior” or rut if you will. It is easy to follow that pattern that has produced so many good results in the past that we feel safe and comfortable and more importantly to us, we don’t have to spend ANY time or effort THINKING about what we are doing. We really don’t think that we need to do any more than we are doing and that is what is so dangerous about this attitude.
The Bible tells us that “only the overcomers will enter into heaven”
Rev_2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Rev_2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
Rev_2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
Rev_2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Rev_3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Rev_3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Rev_3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
But if we are convinced that we have no need to change then we have stopped overcoming. The Bible admonishes us to examine our selves and to search our hearts to see the evil that is there.
2Co_13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Paul said that he would “beat his body into subjection” talking about overcoming the pulls of the flesh. He said he would “bring every thought into captivity” to overcome the “pride of life and the pride of the eyes”.
1Co 9:27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
2Co_10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Do you see the Zeal that Paul expresses in these verses. But it was more than Zeal it was the awareness Paul brought to bear on himself. He was constantly focusing on the sins and evil proclivity of his nature and working hard to root them out.
As a church that seems to be what we are lacking, we are so self satisfied with out actions and so comfortable with doing them than we are not looking deeper inside us for the sins and wrong thoughts or wrong reactions that are still there.
It is kind of interesting that God says He wears ZEAL like a cloak.
Isa_59:17 For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.
Think about it, what is a cloak, what does it do, what effect does it have to the wearer. Well primarily protects from the cold and rain. It is like a first line of defense. When we are zealous we are particularly aware of what’s going on around us. We are not just walking through life in a behavioral rut. Unaware of what goes on around or in us. We begin to use each moment of time. The bible calls this redeeming the time.
Eph_5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Col_4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
Funny thing about the word redeeming.
The greek means:
From G1537 and G59; to buy up, that is, ransom; figuratively to rescue from loss (improve opportunity): – redeem.
When you become aware of the moment you are in effect “buying back” time that would have been lost forever. So that you can use it to a better effect that otherwise.
We go through this life in a spiritual battle with wicked spirits. They are constantly trying to distract us from doing what we should and they bombard us with wicked thoughts and ideas to get us off track.
Eph 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
We cannot fight these battles unless we become aware and focus our attention on the moment.
Think of a soldier going into a fire fight. He must have that zeal or awareness or he is likely to be the first casualty of the battle.
We need to become aware of how much we fall short of emulating Christ in our lives. Our battles are spiritual in nature but Christ gave us a blueprint of how to act and how to react to what ever this world throws at us. Are we examining our selves deeply enough to see those imperfections in us? We can overcome all of them but we have to see them first. We have to Wake up and Rise up out of our slumber and get to work. We need to cover ourselves with that cloak of Zeal and awareness so that we can overcome anything.
WAKE up brethren, what have you overcome today?