Reading: Revelation 3:7-13
This is the second church that Jesus finds no fault with, the first being Smyrna. Philadelphia was a church who held on to God, despite having a number of circumstances we may see as negative: they had little strength (8), suffer persecution (8) and face opposition from some hostile and unbelieving Jews. (9). They have kept going, not denied Jesus, they have not only talked the talk but they have walked the walk and more, have done so patiently waiting for Jesus to rescue them.
To this church Jesus says, “See, before you I have placed an open door no one can shut” (8). It’s a really lovely phrase that I think can be understood in two ways: first, there is a door of opportunity open to them, second, the Kingdom of God is open to them.
Often we spend a long time staring at closed doors, disappointed, even dejected because things haven’t gone our way. The truth of guidance is always this, the closer we are to God the more our our inner desires match his, and our paths align themselves to his ways, we know his leading through our relationship with him. So David writes, “Delight yourselves in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps 37:4). It’s not that when I delight in God he will give me the car I want, or the partner I want, but when delighting in God he will give us more of himself- he who is the delight of our hearts! Or as Augustine writes, “Love God and do what ever you like!”
Finally, though Jesus commends them he reminds them to keep going, to persevere. Oswald Chambers writes,
Perseverance means more than endurance—more than simply holding on until the end. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in a while the saint says, “I can’t take any more.” Yet God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly. Entrust yourself to God’s hands. Is there something in your life for which you need perseverance right now? Maintain your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the perseverance of faith. Proclaim as Job did, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13: 15).
“Follow me” (Matthew 9:9)
“What he opens no-one can shut and what he shuts no one can open”. (Revelation 3:7)
Father, help me to walk closely to you. In step with your spirit. Help me to persevere in following you. Help me to help those around me to keep going and not give up, help me be an encouraging person. More than anything I want to maintain an intimate relationship with you. In the areas of my life where I am estranged from you I am deeply sorry and I turn those areas over to you, to put them under your Lordship. Would you bring them to mind right now that I may deal with them and put them right. In Jesus name. Amen.
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