'Write this to Smyrna, to the Angel of the church. The Beginning and Ending, the First and Final One, the Once Dead and Then Come Alive, speaks: “I can see your pain and poverty—constant pain, dire poverty—but I also see your wealth. And I hear the lie in the claims of those who pretend to be good Jews, who in fact belong to Satan’s crowd. “Fear nothing in the things you’re about to suffer—but stay on guard! Fear nothing! The Devil is about to throw you in jail for a time of testing—ten days. It won’t last forever. “Don’t quit, even if it costs you your life. Stay there believing. I have a Life-Crown sized and ready for you. “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. Christ-conquerors are safe from Devil-death.”'
There is nothing in life as adept as children to remind us that every action or inaction breeds consequences. Jesus knew this as he kept a single-minded focus throughout his ministry. We also experience this and today's Scripture reminds us of the importance of staying centered upon God's plan.
This passage from Revelation shows us that we live in a world that has its own way of making the wrong thing look right and the right thing look wrong. We see this as the writer notes that even in this person who was poor and in pain their wealth is seen. The wealth mentioned here is not one of money nor of things, but of belief in Jesus Christ as Savior.
This person is reminded to expect a time of testing to come, but in the face of jail time to not lose faith nor hope and to continue to listen to the direction of the Holy Spirit, especially during times like these.
We definitely understand this. We know that there are people in our lives whose agendas can convince us to go in ways opposite of where we want to go or believe is the right path. We become anxious and full of fear as we wonder what will happen to us if we follow an uncertain path. However, we may even realize that when we follow God's plan life together as faithful disciples of Christ allows us to live free. Free from the fears that hold us back. Free from all that binds us to the ways of the world instead of the ways of God.
Scripture tells us to listen to the Holy Spirit. What happens when we listen with an open heart, seeking to hear God's voice and to respond in peace? When we take time to pray to God and reflect upon God's will for us, then we are poised to live a life of faith without fear. May we indeed respond with faith, believing in our Triune God -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- and seeking the right way to go despite any fear that is still within us. May God remove all disabling fear from us and give us a heart of courage as we experience God's abiding presence in our midst and throughout our lives.
Prayer: Triune God, we thank you for showing us your glory. Help us to remember with you on our side there is nothing fear. May we choose you and stand firm in faith as followers of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Rev. Laura C. Kelsey, Author
Rev. Kelsey is proud to pastor the First Presbyterian Church of Pontiac, MI. Together with the faithful and loving worshipping community at FPC. she enjoys sharing God's Word with others, working to help folks experience God's love and discern their direction in life, and lovingly reach out to the greater Pontiac community.