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And to the angel of the Church in Sardis …

April 20, 2009

lazyDo you ever have those times – and by “times” I mean consecutive days/weeks – when you’re just tired?

I’m kind of melancholy by nature I guess, but it’s been almost endless the past couple of weeks. Complicated by the fact that I caught some sort of head cold that has been fighting me for six days now. I never get sick, and a week is ridiculous for anyone.

I’ve been so tired. Tired of being sick and broken. Tired of hearing about the government’s latest stupidity. Tired of the endless stream of bad news. Tired of the boring, lifeless routine. Tired of being unhappy or disappointed with this thing or that situation. (God bless my amazing husband who notices, and responds with dinners and hugs instead of instruction and fights.)

Tired demands rest, but in the absence of rest, lazy presents itself as an identical alternative. Which it is not.

That’s where I was yesterday. Lazy, borderline apathetic. I was still doing the disciplines – studying, prayer, etc. – but not living by the Spirit. I was sliding back into living on my own and it’s awful.

The girls went out for a Bible study after church yesterday morning, and we talked about where we are and how we’re doing. I confessed, and hauled out notes on the church of Sardis. Not because I had anything amazing planned, just because we’d done Chapter 2 and now we were on Sardis.

I didn’t even notice this until later, but many translations – the kind that put little subtitles in scripture for you – call Sardis the “dead” church.

The notes, which are not online or I’d cite and source all this for you, always start with the historical context of the church being addressed. Sardis was the center of the Asian revival recorded in parts of Acts. Sardis was known, at the time, as the happenin’ mega-church in town where all the action is. Not because that’s what they are, but because that’s what they were.

“… you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” (Revelation 3:1b)

In each of His seven letters to various churches, Jesus – via John – first introduces Himself, then affirms what they’re doing well, offers correction for what they’re not doing right (if there’s correction to be had), and establishes a promise for those who overcome the trials and temptations specific to believers in that area. The notes for Sardis read,

III. Affirmation: None

and went on to roman numeral number four.

Jesus knew they were once the center of a great revival. He knew that many lives were once changed in their midst. He knew what they had done years ago, but He still had nothing to affirm in them. And it wasn’t because they had been beaten down. The church in Sardis was not persecuted. It was because they had gotten tired and lazy.

Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.” (Revelation 3:3a)

So … okay. I’m up. I’m fighting the good fight. Deep breath, and here we go. I’m not excited about it, honestly, because it’s hard, but it’s right, He’s worth it, and I suck without Him anyway.

How are you doing? Fanning the flames, or have you dropped the ball? If you’re still as firey as ever, clue the rest of us in on how you do it. If you’ve gotten spiritually tired, are you ready to shake it off and keep going?

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