I have to remind myself on a pretty regular basis that I’m a dirt dog. (Matthew 15:26-27). Lest I become like the frozen chosen and think that I am “holy.” Make sure you put the emphasis on the “o” when you say that, because that’s how people who put themselves above others say it. Or at least in my mind they do.
If I permit myself to get in the flesh, I begin to judge those I’m frustrated with, rather than remembering why I am frustrated and who I’m frustrated for. It ain’t me. Well, maybe it is a little.
John the Revelator. Banished to the isle of Patmos (Revelation 1:9) because they wanted to get rid of the troublemaker. This seams to be a theme in my world right now both in the secular and the religious sense. Both, because I let what’s in my heart roll out of my mouth without regard for who it may offend. And then I get offended because they’re offended. It’s a vicious cycle. I guess it’s true that the only thing that has changed with human nature is the time stamp for when it happened and what people are wearing.
Take a look at what John wrote to the church at Ephesus:
Revelation 2:1-7 KJVS
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;  I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:  And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.  Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.  But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  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.
There was works
John tells the church that he knew they’d been busy doing stuff. It was just that their “stuff” was of no effect on the world around them for eternity. This is where I have to be careful about throwing rocks. Because it’s been a while since I’ve won a soul to Christ too. I’m as fed up with myself as I am others. But I won’t let that deter me from stirring the waters that need to be stirred. Because in so doing, perhaps I’ll kick myself into gear.
There was patience
Patience is something I am very accustomed to. I have the patience of Job… at times. And then other times I want what I want when I want it. And I usually wanted it yesterday.
Commentator John Gill said of their patience “ This may refer to the ministers of the word, it may denote their patience in suffering reproaches and persecutions for the sake of the Gospel, which they bore patiently, cheerfully, and constantly; and in bearing the infirmities of weak saints, in their several communities; and in reclaiming and restoring persons out of the way; and in waiting for the success of their ministry, and their continuance and perseverance in it.
All noble characteristics. But there are times when patience should go out the window. Like when we are staring eternity in the face! I have lost my patience with vain, callous Christians who show up on Sunday morning and think their work is done. Those that think that knowing stuff is better than doing stuff. What good is it if it’s not put into practice?
There was Separation
Another wonderful character trait of the church, as long as you’re separated from the evil people. But when you are so far separated from the people of God and those who need God that you don’t understand what they’re in need of, you’ve gone too far.
A friend of mine mentioned cliques yesterday. I have always been the person “out of the clique.” I like it that way. Because that means nobody would ever think of me as unapproachable. I love saints and sinners because the conversations are always varying and they can always lead to Jesus if you’re in the right mindset. Sinners don’t mind talking about Jesus so long as the conversation is relatable. Don’t talk church, talk Jesus. Jesus will hopefully one day lead them to church, but they need to understand that they’re technically talking to the church, which is me. I love Saints who love to talk Jesus outside the church! I love it when a conversation leads to a scripture and you’re just blessed all over because God loves it when His children converse about Him.
I have a feeling that John was telling the Church of Ephesus, “Hey you’re doing good inside the church. But you’ve forgotten that you were called to work outside the church.
There was Resilience
I have always been one of the biggest cheerleaders of the church. But I’m telling you flat footed and eye to eye, my resilience had gotten almost transparent it was so thin. Resilience will only show itself in the battle. How else can it be seen unless it’s showing itself to be true. The church can only be resilient if they have soldiers in the battle. If their soldiers are back at the fort patting each other on the back and telling them how wonderful they are, who’s fighting the war?
I just made myself sick.
I’ve been on the verge of walking out of the fort, but not to the battle field. Just out… away from those who like to know stuff but don’t like to do stuff.
John closes that letter with this: “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.“
I heard a preacher say not too long ago that the “Spirit of God wasn’t that voice in the back of your head.” My heart sunk. According to him the Spirit of God is only found in the Bible. In the Word of God. What? What happens when you don’t have the Bible in your hand? Can God no longer speak to you? What about the person who cannot read. Does God have nothing to say to them? I’ll leave that there. But let me close my message today with this. If it were not for the Spirit of God that dwells within the heart of this Jesus Chick, the same one that sat at the kitchen table yesterday morning ready to walk out on God, but had the Spirit speak to me through some music, and reminded a dear friend to call and say “Shari you are loved and you are worthy.” If not for that, my resilience would have gone from paper thin to non-existent. There is power in the word of God, yes there is!!!! I received it this morning. There is power in Spirit of God, I have received it often. And there is power in the people of God, but deed they got to get out more often.
Get out of the building and into the dirt!