“I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
Jesus’ letter to the church in Philadelphia is filled with praises and promises. This is a letter of love and encouragement. Encouragement from Jesus is what this church needed for the long road of faithful obedience.
In the course of my pastoral ministry, I have met faithful followers of Jesus who experienced many disappointments and difficulties. I would often attempt to encourage them with Bible passages like Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd. . . .” But some would respond, saying, “Pastor, the words of Psalm 22—‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’—speak more honestly of my life experience.”
I often wondered what Jesus would say to these hurting friends. The letter to the church in Philadelphia is Jesus’ word to his hurting people. “I know that you have little strength,” he says, “yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Jesus knows how tired we can get from walking the long road of obedience, “even . . . through the darkest valley,” as Psalm 23 explains.
Like a long-distance runner who needs encouragement for the last part of a race, we need Jesus to cheer us on to keep his word and not deny his name.
May God give you the grace to endure patiently today and to trust that Jesus will do all he promises for the ones he loves dearly.
Dear Lord, sometimes I’m tired and have little strength to hold on to you. You are Almighty God. Help me to endure with patient persistence. Amen.
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