Looks Can Be Deceiving
Recently, while teaching through the first three chapters of Revelation, we took a closer look at the messages to the seven churches of Asia Minor. In studying the condition of the church of Smyrna, we learned that according to the world’s standards the church was “poor,” but according to Christ’s standards it was “rich.”
It reminded me of a time in my life when, to the outside world, I appeared rich in my spiritual walk with the Lord, but in reality, on the inside I was confused, struggling, and lacking faith.
We all desire to show our “best selves” to others. But God knows what’s really going on inside of us and He desires for us to address our issues, both spiritually and emotionally, so that we can clean up our hearts and remain faithful to Him during difficult times.
“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” -- Romans 12:12 (NLT)
The church of Smyrna was struggling financially, physically, and socially. Even their own families were opposing them. But, they were able to endure their difficult and stressful circumstances because they were spiritually strong and remained focused on what really mattered, their salvation and Christ’s promise of eternal life.
When we are struggling in our emotional health or spiritual walk with God, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for us to keep our focus on the important things of life rather than the trials and difficulties we are facing at the moment.
When I find myself focused on the difficulties in my present circumstances, I have to force myself to take a break, ask the Lord for help, and meditate on what His Word has to say about the emotions I am experiencing.
In His Word, He reminds me to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let [my] requests be made known to God.” So that, “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard [my] heart and [my] mind in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB)
Join me today in taking a really good look at what’s going on inside of your heart and mind. Look for areas in your heart that need attention both spiritually and emotionally and commit to doing the following:
- Take your cares and concerns before the Lord in prayer, journal your thoughts, and listen for His response.
- Seek Godly counsel and talk to a trusted friend.
- Search God’s Word for verses that address your specific situation and commit them to memory.
- Spend time listening to worshipful songs that will bring comfort and encouragement to your heart and praise to God.