Fraying at the Edges
Job stands out in the bible because his temptation came in a single tsunami event. He lost thing after thing after thing of importance in a single day.
But, for most of us, temptation works differently. Instead of ripping everything away at one time, temptation consists more of a snipping of threads. A little lie over here. A putting off of time with God today because I’m too tired. A harsh word because I’m angry. A complaint, a drink, a gossiping statement. A little greed. A little envy. A bit of conceit. Nothing big. Nothing “everyone else isn’t doing.” Just little snips of very fine thread. But before long, the garment of our faith is unraveling.
This was probably the case with the church in Sardis. The fabric of their faith was of good quality. They had a reputation (past history) for being alive. But, they were dead. The clothing of their faith was soiled, frayed, falling apart at the seams.
I love the way this is addressed in Romans 13:12-14, “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”
But, here is the critical fact. We do not have the strength to stay awake on our own. We do not have the ability with our own willpower to resist every temptation and every sin. Just as the apostles, Peter, James and John (yes, this very same John), had found it impossible to stay awake on the night that Jesus prayed in the garden, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
But Jesus gives us the solution to that weakness in His introduction to this letter to the church. “These are the words of Him who holds the seven spirits (that is the seven-fold spirit) of God and the seven stars.” We cannot succeed relying on the flesh. But we can succeed by relying on the strength of the Spirit. We cannot succeed by our own will power, but we will succeed by the will and the power of Jesus.
When we cloth ourselves not in darkness but in light; When we put on the armor of light; When Jesus Christ is not only an acquaintance, but the very uniform by which we identify who we are and to whom we belong; Then, the snipping thread of day-to-day temptation will have little impact. When we repent our sins, He mends our faith with stronger, holy thread spun from the righteous acts done in His name by God’s holy people.
Adam and Eve were given clothes of the sacrifice of animals to cover their sin. Through Jesus, those garments of death have been replaced by robes of light and righteousness and holiness.
The night is nearly over, the day is almost here. What will you be wearing?
their deeds, that they had a reputation for being alive but were dead – Wake up! Strengthen what remains, Remember what you have received and heard, hold fast, repent
It makes me question where I have fallen asleep in my faith. Where have I slid and become complacent, starving the spirit in me?
clothes were placed on adam and eve as a covering from their sin, requiring sacrifice. The white clothes of purity, bright and clean, are the clothing of Christ and the righteous acts done in His name by God’s holy people.