1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
There are a lot of ponderables in this passage – questions that I’m sure you had as you read. 1) What are the 7 stars? 2) What about the 7 golden lampstands? 3) Who are the Nicolaitans? Not sure you’re going to get any answers here about those things – but here are my non-scholarly thoughts as I read the passage…
I DO want to work hard and persevere and not grow weary: I have a tendency toward laziness. By nature I am a procrastinator. I have to work hard at not being lazy and procrastinating. The things I am passionate about I work hard at. The things I am not so passionate about I tend to put off. In our country it is pretty easy to get by with being a lazy Christian – I often wonder what my faith would be like if I had to grow up in a country like Haiti. I have much respect for Pastors Leon and Luke and the other fervent believers there.
I DO NOT want to forsake my first love: I want Christ to be pre-eminent in my life. There are a lot of things that vie for pre-eminence. It is only through staying in the Word and staying connected to faithful believing friends that I even come close to not forsaking my first love.
I DO want to hear what the Spirit says: I want my ear attuned to the Spirit’s voice. I want to be able to discern his voice in the midst of the other voices that clamor for my attention. I know that this will take the spiritual discipline of listening. I need to make sure that I have quiet times where I do nothing but tune my ear into the Spirit’s frequency, keep still and just listen.
I DO want to be an overcomer: I have always loved this word in Scripture and I love all the promises to believers in Revelation 2-3 about overcoming – even if I don’t understand them all. The word overcomer comes from the Greek word “nikeo” – or you might recognize it as Nike. It means to gain the victory. I know that there are going to be obstacles and challenges along the way. I want to keep focused on the goal so that the obstacles don’t cloud my vision of why I keep on keeping on.
I DO want to eat from the tree of life in the paradise of God: I can only imagine what it would have been like to be in the original Garden with God at the beginning. The promise here is that I will get to find out.
So, as in so many of the other passages that we have looked at this year, once again we see that the promise of our future hope gives powerful motivation to persevere in the present. So whatever you may be going through this week, take heart! We have a lot to look forward to.
I’m just sayin’!
Next Week’s Passage: Romans 5:1-8
Next Week’s Memory Verse: Romans 5:8