Stay awake spiritually
This is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars: “I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead. Wake up!” Revelation 3:1-2
I love the fact that these seven letters to the churches are all completely different. Each church its own history, strengths and weaknesses, and the risen Lord addressed his words specifically to each situation. The church at Sardis seemed to mirror the city in which it was founded. Built on a very steep hill, it was assumed that Sardis would be impossible for an enemy army to successfully attack. However, on two occasions attacking forces managed to scale the precipice and conquer the city. They succeeded because the over-confident residents hadn’t felt it necessary to post any guards. Their laziness was their downfall, and now the church was being accused of exactly the same failing.
The church in Sardis had a great reputation. They were seen as a successful church, but the Lord knew the truth – they were almost completely dead. He encouraged them to get back to basics. They needed to repent of their lifelessness and return to the teaching upon which the church had been established.
These verses say two important things to us. Firstly, we should never be misled by our reputation. Our church might have a wonderful name in the local area. It might be known as a loving, joyful, successful and united church but what matters is the truth, and that might be very different. Clearly that was the case in Sardis.
Secondly, we need to make sure that we stay awake. Being over busy, disappointed or successful can all cause us to fall asleep spiritually. There’s a wonderful little hymn in Ephesians 5:14 which was probably sung at baptismal services: “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” Paul then encouraged his readers to make the most of every opportunity because they were living in evil days, urging them to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. Only in that way can we be sure that we won’t nod off to sleep like the church in Sardis.
What do you need to do today to ensure that you stay awake spiritually?
Loving God, help me to be spiritually strong and alert for you today. Amen