In Revelation 2, John writes to three churches, and his message is overwhelmingly positive, even as he points out their weaknesses and blind spots. Smyrna, Pergamum, and Thyatira were great churches. And we should be exhorted and warned by these letters. Let me highlight a few things:
When life is hard or when the world is falling apart, don’t underestimate the priority of faithfulness. Make it your goal to outlast the Devil. Don’t neglect or minimize the slow, steady, and consistent approach to daily godliness. You may never be cool, hip, or flashy. But you can ask the Lord to help you be faithful.
Wisdom needs to be front and center in our lives. We need wisdom to not allow our conviction to blind us to compromise. What’s more, we need wisdom to know when our passion in one area is deceiving us into passivity in another. Every generation needs to wrestle with this reality.
Don’t forget that this is the revelation of Jesus Christ. He’s the God-man behind the curtain. You might feel a bit overwhelmed with all the challenges in these churches. You might feel the same thing about your life, your relationships, or even your church today. Let me remind you to keep your eyes on Jesus. The surest remedy to compromise or passivity is to keep our minds and heart fixed on him.
As the writer of Hebrews said:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted (Heb. 12:1-3).