I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you and open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Revelation 3:8 (NIV, 1978)

Students of Scripture may recognize the above verse as words spoken by the Holy Spirit to the church at Philadelphia. Of the seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation, Philadelphia was one of the only two congregations for whom the Spirit had no words of criticism. I find it both poignant and somewhat ironic that, at the end of a book filled with the mighty acts of God and magnificent feats of courage by those called to lead His people, that He would bring attention to the most simple and basic acts of obedience.

While it may be a popular theology to search out the “next great thing” to do for the kingdom of God, there are moments when God appears to be saying, “Listen, I’ll show you what you need to do, but I first need to see that your heart is where it is supposed to be.” Now, clearly that is a very loose translation of the Spirit’s words to the Philadelphian Christians, but it is consistent with the whole of Biblical understanding that He seeks out those who are faithful in their weakness in order that they might be made strong to succeed for His glory alone.

In today’s depraved culture, it is not necessary to seek out battles to fight, for we find ourselves confronted on every side by winds of change that are contrary to the most basic moral Christian principles. When Paul spoke of putting on the full armor of the Spirit of God, he made it clear that that goal in the end was “to stand your ground.” We do not stand our ground by being part of the largest, loudest, or fastest growing church. We cannot prevail based on the popularity of our pastor or the warmth of our fellowship. No, when all those vessels of misplaced trust have been broken, it will be only those clinging to God’s word and Jesus’ name that will receive the attention of heaven.

Beyond the weariness of battle there are “open doors” of blessing for those who refuse to walk away from what is true and eternal.