To the Girl Staying Strong When Her World is Falling Apart

To the girl staying strong when her world is falling apart,

You’ve realized that life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. That rainbows come after a storm, and butterflies are birthed through a time of change and growth.

You’re holding out hope that your rainbow is coming. That their is purpose behind the pain.

In the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation, the church of Philadelphia is given the most promising review, but the people living there have gone through their fair share of challenges. This church has faced natural disasters, they are running on little power and are facing persecution.

Maybe you can relate.

PC: On the Heights Photography

Are You Facing Instability?

When looking back at the history of Philadelphia, it’s important to see what the environment was like for the people living there. Imagine living in a home where you can’t trust the ground beneath your feet. Being built on a geographical fault line, the city of Philadelphia knew this feeling well. In A.D. 17, the city was flattened after a severe earthquake. After being rebuilt, many of the citizens refused to move back and fled whenever a tremor was felt.

I’ve barely, if ever, experienced an earthquake in my life. I have, however, experienced instability at times it was in my friendships, with my family, at work, and at school.

In response to what the city is going through, this is what the Spirit says to the church.

Revelation 3:12 (ESV) “The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.”

Why is the pillar significant? In a study guide by Crikett Keith (Bible.org, 2008), she talks about how, “the only parts of the city that would be left standing after a severe quake were the huge stone columns of the temple because they were stable. They were secure. He [God] promises to set believers in His kingdom in such a secure fashion that nothing can ever shake them. Nothing can ever force them to flee again.”

How Do You Stay Strong Through Peresuction?

While the church was facing physical challenges, they also faced persecution from fellow Jews.  

Revelation 3:9-11 (ESV) Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.

My Bible (NIV Archaeological Study Bible, Zondervan) has an excellent cultural and historical notes section that talks about how “The ‘synagogue of Satan’ was not a general attack on Judaism but a reference to Jews who had denounced Christians to the Roman government as not being ‘true Jews.’ Since the Jews enjoyed legal exemption from participation in the imperial cult (worship of the emperor as a god), this left Christians open to prosecution for their nonparticipation.” (p. 2051)

There are so many different forms of persecution that Christians still face in the world today, but the part that sticks out to me from these verses is the patient endurance. These Christians are being denounced by their own people, and what are they reminded of? That God loves them. We see that our true reward is in heaven and to hold fast to our faith.

What Doors are Open to You?

This letter is a letter of recognition, encouragement, and commissioning. We’ve already seen where God is recognizing the struggles this city is going through, and how He encourages them through their persecution. But that’s not where the letter starts.  It starts with a calling.

Revelations 3:7-8 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

God is reminding them that He in control, He holds the key and has an open door for them that no one will shut: a call to the mission set before them.

Which leaves us with the question, are there open doors that God has set before us? And what is our response to those?

Do You Feel Powerless?

Have you felt powerless to pursue the mission God has given you?

While it’s clearly stated that the Philadelphia church in some capacity had little power, I think the encouragement can be found in their faithfulness. Hey, God sees where we are at, but more importantly sees our response and how we push through despite our weaknesses.

Yet, He says. Yet you were faithful in keeping My word. Yet you were faithful in upholding My name.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Through their weaknesses, the church of Philadelphia found their strength in Christ. The letter concludes in verse thirteen by saying, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

So when we are facing instability, persecution, or feel powerless, we are reminded that this letter was also written for us. To stay faithful and hold fast to our faith. God is calling you Be encouraged that through our weaknesses, God is our strength.

Love your fellow church girl,

Mandi

READ OTHER LETTERS IN THE SERIES

Revelation 3:7-13 English Standard Version (ESV)

To the Church in Philadelphia

7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.

8 “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you.10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Source: https://bible.org/seriespage/7-philadelphia-faithful-church

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