Holy Spirit Forced Selah

If you’ve been around Christianity for even a short period of time, you’ve probably heard the term selah.  It’s a Hebrew word, often found in the Psalms, which means “pause and consider.”

Jodi and I were forced to have a selah moment this weekend.  Allow me to supply the context.  We skipped church.  Yep.  We skipped church.  The baby was fevering and we were worn out.  So–for the first time in a long time–we all took a Sunday off from attending Sunday School and the worship service. Instead, we turned on the TV.  Yep.  We turned on the TV.  I know…we’re spiritually sick.  Well, actually, we might be!  We turned on the TV in order to feed our souls on Sunday morning.  The first sermon we watched was from David Jeremiah.  His text was Revelation 3:1-6.  It was helpful.  After that message, we turned the channel in order to watch another preacher that we like–James McDonald.  His passage was Revelation 3:1-6.  Yep.  The identical section from God’s Word.

Two different pastors.  Two different channels.  Same text.

The Holy Spirit had our attention.  We were all ears.  We’re still in the processing phase, though.  What exactly did the Spirit want us to hear?  What particular application does He desire us to implement (if you know Him, you know that he is both pushy and subtle).

Here’s the passage:

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive,  but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Both of the pastors set the context for us.  Our questions do not center around the background or historical details related to this short letter.  Our inquiry is focused on what the Spirit has for us in this communication.*  Are we truly spiritually alive (3:1)?  Do we need to wake up and strengthen the things that remain (3:2)? Are we possibly asleep at the wheel (3:3)?  Are we holding on to what we were taught (3:3)?  Do we need to repent (3:3)?  Have we soiled our garments (3:4)?

Other than the fact that I know we are indeed spiritually alive, I don’t really know the answer to these questions.  Thankfully, the Holy Spirit knows them!  And, thankfully, He can point out our deficiencies in His time.  I will admit that–though far from perfect–we are continuing to believe and we are striving to live righteously.  We are taking proactive steps in our spiritual lives and we are repenting when we sin.  While we are not what we will be, we are definitely not what we used to be.  We have matured.  I think we have also grown.

But we believe what we were especially reminded of this:  the outward isn’t necessarily an indicator of the inward.  Outwardly we are doing rather well (“you have a name that you are alive” [3:1]).  When you look at us, you probably think that we’re doing well.  Tim is regularly writing a blog and often teaches Sunday School.  Jodi attends a Bible study at church and serves in AWANA.  Yet, inwardly we are struggling to an extent.  Part of that struggle is simply fatigue.  Part of it is hard to describe.  Part of it is too intimate to share in this setting.  Yet we refuse to relent in our fight for joy.  Too much is at stake.

And I am rambling.

I close with the contentment that God is alive and well and that He still speaks.  He spoke to us Sunday morning through our television and He continues to communicate to us via His Word. And while we might not be where we want to be spiritually today, we know where we want to be.  And sometimes just the wanting makes all the difference.

How would you describe your wanting today?

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

*If I were teaching this passage in a local church, I would first stress that the application applies to “us” corporately (as a body) before prompting the members to self-examination.




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