by Kimberley Pfeiffer
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‘Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God’ (Revelation 3:2).
I don’t know what was going on in the church of Sardis at that time, but we know by these dire warnings, it definitely wasn’t good.
God has forgiven, redeemed, and restored us in Christ, and so when we read a frightening biblical text like this one, we ought to remember that, whether it be law or gospel, it is there to teach us as God’s dearly loved children for our good and God’s glory. Knowing this, we can look to find the hope that God offers here. In this text, I am encouraged by the words, ‘strengthen what remains’.
How often do we want to try to address a problem by casting great visions and looking to ideals with the plan of ‘working back’ until things are made right? Here, God’s hot tip is to look at what remains, what we already have, and to work with that.
Taking this latter path is truly a humbling experience and is much more difficult. It can seem so ho-hum at times. Facing the concrete realities of our predicament can feel like being chained to a lead balloon compared to abstract ideals – the possibilities, the potentials, the thought of where we will be in five or ten years. These thoughts, in contrast, make us feel like we are floating on clouds.
Yes, tuning into reality is definitely the harder road. Maybe we’ve made dire mistakes in the past that we need to deal with, or maybe we are forced to face the reality that we’ve wasted what time, people, or resources we have, and that there isn’t much left. It is hard to realise that there will be a long road ahead before we get back on track.
This text is oddly comforting. It encourages us to look to the good that remains because it is still good. Even if it is a little, it has still been given to us by God and is there so that we can prosper. All is not lost. Focus on what we have and work with that. God will join us as we call on him for his wisdom, strength, and the creative power to build his kingdom through his gospel.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us hope when all seems lost, especially in the good news of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Please help us by your Spirit to strengthen what remains in our broken communities, relationships, and lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.