"But to the rest of you in Thyatira, all who do not hold to this teaching (who have not learned the so-called "deep secrets of Satan"), to you I say: I do not put any additional burden on you. However, hold on to what you have until I come. And to the one who conquers and who continues in my deeds until the end, I will give him authority over the nations-
he will rule them with an iron rod and like clay jars he will break them to pieces,
just as I have received the right to rule from my Father - and I will give him the morning star.
The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'" Revelation 2:24-29
It is a phrase I have often heard in the ebb and flow of my life; mostly in the military circles I've travelled….as a Damage Controlman in the US Navy and a MP (Combat) in the Michigan Army National Guard but in other areas of my life as well, none as clearly though as I have in this battle in the journey home. It is the phrase I've repeated to myself many times as I've dealt with the defeats and the sorrows of this life…….
Hold what you have, just hold what you have.
What do we have, really, in this world that is worth the effort?
There is so much of the world that is temporary and fragile……too easily lost in the tempest of the storms that rage across the landscape of our simply lives. Wealth is fleeting, as many have experienced in the years of this economic disaster. Material goods, so often gained with 'get now, pay later' have been reclaimed because the payments cannot be made. Homes, boats, cars……lives have been swept into the tidal waves crashing upon the inland, once seemingly so safe from the possibility of flood. Experiences seem to gather together to defeat us and rob us of all joy……we are a people living in a groaning state for the return of our Savior.
I am single again…….in what I thought wasn't my decision but I can see now that she just uttered the words that we both needed to hear…..and when I looked to 'hold what I had,' I found there was nothing there………..
A dear friend, a ninja warrior of the Kingdom, offered me these verses in Revelation to ponder as a solace to the heartbreak I was experiencing. Just as my Esther's heart was broken……
It is interesting, in the context of this group of verses, how directly dealing God is with my own foolish human and sinful departure from the ways He would have me go; joining Him in the work of the Spirit here in the lives of those around me, through me and within me. In my family, in my friends, relationships and fellowships. The teaching that John writes here is the compromise and rationalization of actions that are sinful while seeking Christ, not caring that neither can exist within the presence of the other. Where God once was the focal point of our relationship, my Esther and I….it became a background noise, a 'when-I-can-get-to-it' priority that slowly was never 'got-to' and ignored in the compromise of what would have been for what was.
God has moved so mightily and powerfully in my life lately; in the trip to the Bowery in New York, the purchase and renovation of this doublewide, and the blessings of community and yet I can say that I've squandered most of those blessings….becoming unfertile ground for those the ground was meant to support and grow. Much like my previous post referenced, what have I done with that which was given to me to continue in the word of Christ?
Sin and Christ cannot co-exists in the same spot.
No matter how hard we try and make it so.
We work at the wrong things and in doing so, destroy the very things that we have been blessed with to have. We cannot add anything to the work of Salvation, for the work has been completed upon the Cross……in uttering that it 'is finished', Christ imposed no burden upon us…..rather we respond faithfully for what has been done for us through His sacrifice. This is the beauty and wonder of Christ……and His utter love for a people who sinned against God in the first place.
Responding faithfully means overcoming…..through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to be blessed and powerful people for the glory of the King, Jesus.
We rejoice in the blessings that He has given us, holding them firm in the light of the Holy Spirit uncorrupted and untainted……conquering our selfishness desires to find instant gratification in our agenda and holding on to the Truth and Way that is found in the bindings of the Bible…..not for a little while, but until Christ returns…..to those who overcome, to them kingdoms are to be given to rule….because of the example set forth by the High King, Jesus Christ, who overcame Death for our sake.
In this world, we will either turn to our own sinful desires and forego the overcoming prize of kingdom rule……or we will seek defiantly after the King and remain in His shadow for the empowering of the saints destined to rule.
What is our prize, our reward for holding what we have, not giving into the temptations of the false teachings and hopes of a world corrupted and sinful? The Morning Star……Jesus Christ, His radiance and glory to shine upon our face and our world……Jesus will give Himself to His people……ruling like a caring shepherd with the right to rule, authority and strength of God.
I don't know if this makes any sense or if I'm just allowing the random thoughts bouncing in my head since I have read and re-read the verses while I sit here on autopilot…….