I Want to Do What I Want to Do
The letter to the Church in Thyatira starts out great. “I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.” If only it could have stopped there. But, there was something else living in their ranks.
Nevertheless, “You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet“.
Jezebel is likely a reference to the philosophy of the wife of King Ahab at the time of Elijah. That Jezebel personified the self-centered attitude of “I want to do what I want to do.” It was a philosophy of life without boundaries. It was a belief that power and authority were to be used as weapons to take what I want from whom I want. It was a life focused on self-indulgence seeing others beliefs and boundaries as tools that could be used against them for my own personal wants and gains. It was an attitude of “live for the moment,” where lies flourished, image was everything, and eternity was mocked (may they be damned, and may I be cursed if…). It was an attitude of living for now regardless of consequences.
There have been Jezebels of every age. They have been people in power and authority. They have been neighbors. They have found their way into our places of work, our neighborhoods, our schools and even in to our churches. Some of us may have been a Jezebel earlier in life.
Jezebelism is not to be tolerated. I am not simply talking about the person. The cardinal matter here is not the person but the attitude and philosophy of which the the person is a prophetess.
The instruction to the church is to “hold on”. Jesus knows the corrosive nature of this attitude and philosophy. He has been at work, in the spirit, on the hearts and minds of those who hold to what they contrive to be “the secret”, but is in fact nothing but lies. He has called them to repent, but they have refused.
The instruction to the church is that He is coming and He will take care of this. The proper authorities are on their way – just hold on.
The instruction is the same to us. There are boundaries. I am not the center of existence. Power and authority are gifts given to serve. It is not about me, it is all about God. Hold on.
But holding on doesn’t just mean not jumping in to the temptation with our entire being. It also means not yielding to the temptation to see how far we can stretch the boundaries. It means not seeing how close we can put our own self interest to the center of our world before we’ve pushed God aside. It means not yielding to greed, lust, sexual immorality, theft, murder, idolatry, lying, cheating, self-centered behavior – not even a little beyond what is honoring and holy before the Lord.
There are boundaries. Not as oppressive limits, but as healthy and helpful constraints. Sweet treats are good, but a diet of only sweet treats is deadly. We understand that, but we want to listen to Satan’s so-called deep secrets, including the idea that more is always better. It’s not – that is one of the lies – and living a life without boundaries is missing the mark. It is called sin.
Just hold on. Keep doing good deeds. Keep loving. Keep on being faithful. Keep your focus on service and perseverance. Keep doing more than you did at first.
deeds, love and faith, service and perseverance, doing more now than you did at first.
sexual immorality. eating of food sacrificed to idols. Allowing and holding to the teaching of false teachers
She was a murderer, idol woshipper, blasphemer. She was amoral leading her husband the king and the people he led against God and into sin
suffering (cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely) – strike her children dead, be repaid according to deeds
He is all knowing. His eyes (like blazing fire) penetrate hearts and minds and know. He will justly repay according to the deeds performed