Words of Affirmation
Lord, often my dreams fade and I grow discouraged. Renew and restore me today with new energy and strength.
Read REVELATION 3:7-13
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“There are always vacancies in the ministry of encouragement. The world is full of discouragers. To encourage, to lift, to offer the tonic of praise, is a Christ-like service” (John N. Gladstone).
How has your faith helped you to develop your self-confidence? How many sermons have you heard where the preacher has done nothing but encourage the congregation, telling them how much God loves them and what good plans he has for them? This message to Philadelphia is one such sermon! As the second to last letter it matches the second of the seven in offering no rebuke to them. It focuses on how the risen Jesus sees all that is good in the congregation and affirms it: their faithfulness to the Word, their refusing to deny the name of Jesus (8), and their endurance despite pressures from within (9) and without (10).
In the light of this, the injunction is to keep doing what they have been doing (“hold on to what you have,” v. 11)—to keep on keeping on! To support them in this, Jesus will open all the doors they need (7). The image here is of the king’s doorkeeper, who decides on behalf of the king who is allowed into the king’s presence. Whatever doors are shut by other people, the one who holds the key to God’s presence opens the door and assures the faithful of their place there, in anticipation of their place in the Kingdom of God at the end (12).
This reassurance is foundational to our life and our ministries. Paul talks of the love of God “poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5:5), and the Spirit’s role in enabling us to cry out to God as Father (Rom. 8:15). Jesus needed to hear God’s affirmation of him as “my Son, whom I love” before going, “full of the Holy Spirit,” into the desert to face temptation. If Jesus needed it, how much more do we!
Spend time in God’s presence, listening for the encouraging things God wants to affirm in you. Who are those who can pass on this encouragement to you?
Father, when storms assail and hindrances oppress, shield and encircle me, imparting Your encouraging grace. Thank You for hope for today and strength for tomorrow.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.