I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: ~Revelation 2:2
Revelation 2:1-7 is the record of a letter that the Lord had the Apostle John write to the church at Ephesus. God loves His churches, and He wants every local church and its members to have a long-term and deep-rooted impact where the church is planted. The Lord commended this church for its practices, but He also rebuked it for its negligence. This morning, we want to look at what it did well. Let us see four traits of a thriving Christian.
We must be diligent.
“I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience.” This church was acknowledged for its industry and intensity of service. The word for “works” entails the idea of enterprise. I think of the founders of a new start-up who give themselves and work tirelessly to make the business become successful. “Labour” is a word that describes working continuously, even though there is heartache and sorrow. Thriving Christians work hard, study hard, pray hard, and move forward hard. They stay at soulwinning and discipleship. They get things done. They are addicted to the ministry. They are fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.
We must be discerning.
“…And thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.” This was a church that was doctrinally sound. The leadership and membership were careful and suspect of false doctrines coming into the church. A discerning Christian is not gullible and does not easily believe the latest books and authors. We must test the words of men and not be easily taken advantage of. We must contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. If you want to thrive, you must be discerning.
We must have determination.
“And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.” Thriving Christians don’t easily quit and give up. They are resilient in trials. They hold fast during storms. They do not allow discouragement to wear them out. They are tough in spite of criticism. Nehemiah faced many threats and criticisms to quit, but he reminded his adversaries that he was doing a good work and could not come down. Another time, he was encouraged to hide in the temple, but, instead, he rebuked his adversary and said, “Should such a man as I flee?” Whatever it is that we must do, be steadfast!
We must have devotion.
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” God rebuked the believers at Ephesus for their lack of devotion or passion. It is easy for us to do things without heart. John Bunyan noted, “In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” The same can be said about our work and labor in the Lord. Don’t get to the place where you lose your love for the Lord. Whatever we do, let it be with passion for the Lord and the people we are doing it for. Be careful of becoming cynical, mechanical, and routine.
Christians do less, quit, and become absentee when one or more of these traits are missing. Thrive in what you do, and stay on fire for our Lord!
Have a fervent God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Hosea 8-14