by Kristen C. Strocchia
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13
As John records Jesus’ words to the seven churches of Asia Minor, each letter contains one main idea, critical to the believers getting their faith back on track.
To Ephesus: Lost Love.
To Smyrna: they’re not off track…yet. But they will face trials and need to hold on tight so that this doesn’t shake them from their faith.
To Pergamum: Compromise.
To Thyatira: Tolerance.
To Sardis: Spiritually Dead.
To Philadelphia: another church that was not off track, but being pushed to their limits by the surrounding culture. They needed to persevere in the face of slander and betrayal, guarding their faith.
To Laodicea: The distant, lukewarm faith of affluence.
But the point in pointing out the faith flaws and trials of each church was to exhort them and guide them in holding on.
Like Ephesus: Hold onto your love for Jesus.
Like Smyrna: Hold onto your faith no matter what the physical threat.
Like Pergamum: Hold onto the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Hold onto righteousness.
Like Thyatira: Hold onto your stand, boldly. Hold onto sound teaching.
Like Sardis: Hold onto abundant life.
Like Philadelphia: Hold onto your identity in Christ.
Like Laodicea: Hold onto true wealth, the spiritual treasures that can only be laid up in heaven.
To those who are victorious, to those who have donned the full armor of God and made their stand in the face of cultural opposition and spiritual temptation and confusion, to these victors go the spoils of eternal life.
Are you holding onto Jesus with all that you are?