Posted by: New in Every Way | May 7, 2012

Surprise Ending

Have you ever heard people talk as if God spends much of his time being angry with our wrong attitudes and actions? Worse yet, have you lived with downcast eyes, certain that if you look up, you’ll see his frown?

Check out this picture of Jesus.  It starts out rough, but read to the surprise ending.
“I know your deeds [says Jesus—in a vision—to the church of Laodicea] that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see (Revelation 3:15-18).

How embarrassing! How terrifying to know that Jesus himself felt that way about them!

But notice what immediately follows:

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me (Rev. 3:19-20).

When I first read this, I thought Jesus had switched gears—from being fed up with them to softening a bit. Taking closer look, I saw that he said he had been acting in love the whole time! He spoke the unpleasant truth to rescue them from their wandering. Then, lest they were overwhelmed with shame, maybe even ready to run away and quit trying to be a Christian, he stepped close and said, “I’m right here at the door of your heart. Not to condemn, but because I want us to do lunch together, like we did before.”

Make It Personal

  • If you are harassed by memories of your failures, is it God who is constantly reminding you of them? [Hint: “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).]
  • Does he want to strengthen your heart with the knowledge that he is rooting for you all the way?
  • In the light of such acceptance and affection, is there anything you wouldn’t do to please him?
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