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.
I have thought of this passage often in the last few months, specifically the concept of having “but little power”, assuming He is speaking directly to me. Of course He is primarily speaking to a church two thousand years ago, and we can find direction, wisdom and application in carefully reading and understanding the author’s intent and message to the original readers. This is a challenge, for we are sometimes so self centered that we jump into application immediately, but let us not be in the habit of this downfall.
Regarding this passage, and the topic we are chasing, the portion that arrests my attention is verse 11. Of course, we could discuss how this passage would inform us of His soon coming for the modern church (it doesn’t) or that it describes a pre-tribulation rapture (pardon me?). Let’s not chase rabbits to some unknown (unjustified) destination!
The issue to be concerned about is holding fast! Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.
Hang on through the difficult times!
The Lord has specifically spoke of the little power this church has, and now He commands them to hold fast. Two different words are used when addressing the church in Philadelphia, and it may be instructive to consider them.
When the passage speaks of little power, the Greek word “power’ in verse 8 speaks of strength, power and ability. It is the Greek word dunamis, from which we get the English word dynamite. The term is modified with the adverb “little”, and not much to add to that term other than it is little, small in size, quantity or number. Tiny.
Verse 11, we meet up with the command to hold fast. This term does not quantify the strength or ability of the church (little power), but of the desire to continue, the use the strength (whatever is available) to grab and hang on.
My 8th grandchild Theo is just starting to walk. When he “takes hold” of my hand, his strength is so small, so tiny. I could despise the little strength he has – so so weak – and yet he is giving it all to hang on. I don’t whine or complain about his lack of strength, (for it is all he has) but I revel in the fact that he is hanging on, fighting to try to walk like his brother, to balance, to be with Grampa.
If you are of little strength, do not consider this to be something the Lord Jesus despises. When the Lord’s attitude towards the weak is brought to mind, I naturally return to Matthew 12.
18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. 19 He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; 20 a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory;
A bruised reed he will not break. Consider the Master’s attitude, and hold on with what ever strength you have. If you are a mighty man of valor, hang on. (Just don’t be too proud of your mightiness, for that is also a bit of a problem don’t ya know!)
If you are struggling and sense your “little power”, hold on. He is the Savior and He is looking for your desire. Hang on and don’t let anyone seize your crown.
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