Weekly Church Devotion from Pastor Haydn Sennitt –
The Wealthy Poor Overcome
For some who follow Jesus, being a Christian has seen them reach what looks like a secure place. Were you to audit their spiritual and personal lives, there may be little that you can fault them on. Perhaps hearing about such people provokes in us a silent, unspoken cynicism that goes something like, “Pfft! Here I am ‘struggling’ with my own junk and these guys have a nice, breezy walk with the Lord. Fat chance. If only knew how hard it was for people like me”. Perhaps we’re like that because we have allowed sin to run riot in our lives like a dirty dog on an expensive white Persian rug and we cannot fathom how someone else has a clean house.
In the early church, there was a gathering of God’s people, in Smyrna, that were actually going really strong (Revelation 2:8-11). Jesus’ letter to this church is a very short four verses because there was nothing that they could be faulted on – they were in a good place, like the Philadelphians (3:7-13). Like them, Smyrna had been attacked by Jews who were unregenerate and probably trying to make them live under the weight of Jewish law (c.f. Galatians 1). Unlike Philadelphia, however, Smyrna had not yet suffered persecution, and their towering spiritual strength was about to be sorely tested. They were about to be ‘thrown in prison’ for 10 days by Satan, and although the time was only short, for some that meant martyrdom by death (v. 10).
Perhaps in your walk is like this. You are doing well with the Lord while others are struggling. Well done, so far! Yet that strong position may very well be a sign of harder things to come, because Satan loathes pillars of strength in the Lord and wants to bring them down. If this is you, then you need to be all the more earnest in praying to God that you will be firm to the end of your life, to keep holding onto Jesus. Don’t presume upon your spiritual walk thus far, because temptation (1 Cor. 10:12-13) or trial may rob you of your joy. The only way that can happen is if we surrender that joy ourselves and give up our heavenly riches for bowls of soup (Hebrews 12:15-17). Keep walking the walk and fighting the good fight, and pray that you never give up.
~ God bless, Pastor Haydn.