“You are alive, but you are dead.” Revelation 3:1
Did you know it’s possible to be alive and dead at the same time? I didn’t understand this myself until I became an “alive” Christian at age seventeen. I was raised in a mainstream denominational church, knew all the Bible stories, and had been baptized and went through confirmation class. I thought I was a good person and Christian destined for eternity with God in heaven. I had no idea I was physically “alive,”, but spiritually “dead.” After I was made aware of my sin, repented, received Christ as my Savior and Lord, saved and baptized again as a knowing adult, my spirit became alive with His and my eyes were opened. For the first time, I realized just how lifeless I had been! But as I have walked with the Lord these past many years since, I have seen how easy it is to slip into old habits and patterns. I had lost my first love with the Lord and become spiritually numb. I need a wake-up call now and then to help me get back on track.
“Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which are about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore, if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.” Revelation 3:2-3
I’m in an awesome Precepts Bible study group, and we are studying the book of Revelation this year. The first part of the study (Chapters 1-3) is showing us God’s message through Jesus to the seven churches. Each message to each church contains a statement of who Christ is, and a commendation for each church in something they are doing well. As well as a reproof and warning for each, ending with a promise for those who overcome. It is such a timely study considering the turmoil in our world today.
This week’s study on the church of Sardis brought God’s warnings to all of the churches to a stark culmination with His words of “You are alive, but you are dead. Wake Up!!!” Not only was it a wake-up call for the church of Sardis and other churches of the early Christian era, but for churches throughout history, and also for the Church (we believers) today. How many are sitting in the pews on Sunday morning “alive, but dead?” How many are convinced they are believers and yet they are following an empty, religious routine as I was? Their spirits lulled to sleep by worldly pursuits and passions? Just like Kay Arthur said, “Sitting in church doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car.” And what about those who are outside the church? How much more of a warning is this for them? Jesus is coming back and will judge the quick and the dead, and there are no second chances after that (Luke 16:19-31, Acts 17:31, 2 Timothy 4:1).
We have an amazingly forgiving, patient, and loving God. He keeps giving us wake-up calls, warnings, and do over opportunities. He wants everyone to be saved and spend eternity with Him. (2 Peter 3:9) He is preparing His Church for His return and warns that He will come like a thief, and we will not know the hour. (1 Thessalonians 5:2-6.)
So instead of cruising through life thinking, “I’ll deal with my spiritual state later.” Or living by the carefree YOLO (You Only Live Once) ideology, or “I’m a good person, surely I am saved,” mentality – WAKE UP!
“What do you mean it’s cancer,” I said to myself. “I take good care of myself, eat healthy and exercise. There’s no breast cancer history in my family. How did this happen?”
It shook me to the core and catapulted me into the realization that although we caught it early on, and it was very treatable, I needed to make some major changes in my life. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Looking back I can now see how I had lost my “first love” with Christ. I was in a spiritual desert and had been lulled to sleep in areas of my life. The cancer diagnosis became an avenue for God to build new faith and strength in me. It helped me to trust Him to set me free in areas I was still entrapped in lies, and showed me a depth of His love I had not experienced before. It also brought me in connection with others who helped restore me to better health than I was before the diagnosis. This “wake-up call” drove me to a better place in my relationship with the Lord and others. It also gave me a renewed passion for helping others wake up and embrace their TRUE identity in Christ!
Don’t be like Scarlet O’Hara saying, “Tomorrow is another day.” WAKE UP TODAY! For we do not know the hour of His return.
I’m headed for heaven and I long for everyone to be destined for the same.
For His Glory,
Photos by Jennifer Brommet