Rev 1:17-18 Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades
Psalm 119:71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
Something I am seeing in my writing, and in my preaching also, is that, while I do well at bringing application out of what I am reading, I don’t don’t do very well at sharing stories to make God’s word come alive. I want to become better at that.
As I read Revelation 1 this morning, I tried to picture the scene. John sees this amazing vision. In the vision, when he sees Jesus he is so overwhelmed that he falls before him as though he is dead. The magnificence of the scene must have been incredible. Just a small glimpse of heaven.
But, Jesus assures him, “Don’t be afraid.” (I’m sure he probably told him to get up off the ground too. 🙂 ) Jesus goes on to say, “I’m the first and the the last. I am alive, though I was dead. I hold the keys to death and Hades!”
Wow, can you imagine? Jesus standing in front of you saying, “You have nothing to worry about. I conquered death itself. Now, I hold the keys. Don’t be afraid. As long as I am with you, you don’t have to worry! That’s our God. That’s Jesus, who lives in us through the Spirit. How would living with this picture in mind change how I face my day?
Monday while I was doing DoorDash I had the opportunity to put this into practice, but failed. I was running out of time, I had to be home for a meeting. I had not had a very successful dash, so I was a bit frustrated at God about that. When I arrived at Five Guys to pick up an order, it wasn’t quite ready. So, the guy at the counter said, “Oh yeah, I have that one right here,” as he wrapped up the burgers. He put the burgers in a bag and gave them to the fry guy. The fry guy promptly put my bag on a shelf, then filled the orders of everyone else in the room with fries. Once everyone else was gone, one of the other guys asked me, “Are you still waiting? I thought that one was done.” I stated, with a little tone of frustration I am sure, that my order was up on the shelf, as I pointed. He assured me, they would get to it shortly, but I think I was there about 20 minutes.
As I think about Revelation 1:17, I can look at things in one of 2 ways:
- God, because you can do all, you SHOULD do this for me, I deserve it.
- …or, because you can do all, you hold the keys, I don’t have to worry about my circumstances. I know you are in control, and you are going to do what’s best, so I rest in you. Use me to show your glory.
Unfortunately I think my attitude was the first, rather than the latter.
Ian Thomas in chapter 20 of “The Indwelling Life of Christ,” said this, “The Lord Jesus Christ could afford to be weak; He could afford to be thought foolish in the eyes of silly, sinful men; He could afford to be reviled and mocked and spat upon… Jesus could afford to do as He was told, and He could afford to die, because He knew that Someone else was taking care of the consequences:” “What I am urging is simply that you become delightfully detached from the pressure of circumstance, so that it ceases to be the criterion in the decisions you make.” “You will not need to know what He plans to do with you … you simply need to know Him.”
Psalm 119:71 Its good for me to be afflicted to remind me that life doesn’t revolve around me. The events that happen to me are in order that His life is seen through mine. I didn’t do very well at that. I acted like a lot of other people when their order is late. It was good for me to be afflicted. I am reminded once again that every circumstance is an opportunity for me to show what God is like. He holds the keys to everything. I don’t have to worry about circumstances, I just need to be available to be his hands, feet and mouth, so the world will see how God acts in those circumstances.
My prayer for you today is that you will be restfully available to Him to use you in any and all circumstances to display Him. And that you will become delightfully detached from circumstances, resting in His care and confident in His plans.