Where Does Real Courage Come From?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Can We Act?

Reflections on Revelation 3:21-22

You and me -- are we Laodiceans?

This is a hard question to answer. The devil is good at what he does. He attacks us, and the church, with subtlety and deception. He knows how to get our eyes off God. He knows our sinful nature loves to be the center of attention. He lifts us up, he exalts us, so we don’t trust God, we trust ourselves. Our wealth. Our intellect. Our ability.

We hate losing control.

We love to feel self-sufficient so we can say, “I’m fine. I need nothing.” We love to pretend we’re either hot or cold but never lukewarm; never “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked”; and, never in need of counsel or advice.

The devil knows this about us. His kingdom is built on the principle of his own heart: Self-exaltation (Isa 14:14). We’re susceptible to it, even long time Christians. We fall prey to the devil’s constant demand: Eyes off Jesus, eyes on self.

But this is not our Lord’s kingdom, nor His heart.

We know Jesus Christ is Lord. He is the “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation” (3:14). We also know He modeled humility for us (Phil 2:8). He came not to be served but to serve “and give His life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45). He never exalted Himself. Nor does He want us to exalt ourselves.

The ancient proverb says: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Prov 3:34, Jas 4:6). The New Testament tells us it is possible, in the Holy Spirit, to be clothed with that same humility (Col 3:12). It’s a simple but clear discipline.

Eyes off self, eyes on Jesus.

Every time we do, we conquer. We are not Laodiceans. We will not fall prey to the devil’s seductions. The Lord presides over us. We have heard Him knock. We have opened the door. We have said no to pride, self-exaltation, and self-sufficiency. We have made the choice to “fix our eyes on Jesus” (Heb 12:2 NIV) and put our trust in Him, not ourselves.

We never say, “I need nothing.” It’s the exact opposite. We need Jesus. We need a Savior. We are “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” and in desperate need of Him to rescue us from ourselves, our sinful nature, and the powers of the devil.

We can conquer. It is possible “through Him who loved us.” He is the One who makes us “more than conquerors” (Rom 8:37). When He conquered all things on the cross, He said He “sat down with my Father on his throne.” In the same way, He promised us who conquer, “I will grant him to sit with me on my throne.”

In due time, Jesus will raise us up.

But for now, we say no to self-exaltation. For we are not, and never will be, Laodiceans.

John 15:1-11, the Vine and the branches. "Is He everything to you?