YOU’VE GOT MAIL
Lord, grant me the humility to hear what You have to say to me today.
Read Revelation 2:1–11
To the Church in Ephesus
2 “To the angel[a] of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
To the Church in Smyrna
8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.
a Revelation 2:1 Or messenger; also in verses 8, 12 and 18
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhich church resonates with your spiritual condition?
I often ask those who come to me for spiritual direction, “How is it with your soul?” The seven letters dictated by Jesus invite examination of our spiritual health and well-being: how is it with your soul? How is your relationship with Jesus? And your church’s relationship with him?
All seven letters begin with “I know,” all are told to overcome and all have a promise. You might like to record all of these over the next few days, compare them and apply them to both yourself and your church. Notice too that Jesus describes himself differently to each church—how do these descriptions link to the message of each letter?
For what are the churches in Ephesus and Smyrna praised (2,3,6,9)? What are the warnings (4,5,9b,10)? And what are they told to do (5,10b)? Ephesus was a hard-working church that had forgotten its first, or foremost, love—something that can happen if we work hard for Christ but forget our paramount love for him. Smyrna (now Izmir) comes from the word for myrrh, representing suffering, and was a suffering church that needed to persevere through difficult times of persecution—something we might need to do in these difficult modern times too.
How is it with your soul? What might Jesus write to you or to your church? What might you need to do (e.g., 4,5,10,11)? Write down which words you feel are Jesus’ words to you.
O Lord, thank You for speaking to me. May I have a heart that pleases and honors You.