Fire can be immensely useful and warming, or very destructive. Fire mentioned in the Bible usually has the meaning of purifying and judgment. The vision of Jesus associated with this small-town church on the plains was his eyes of fire. Thyatirans were in a place testing their purity of faith. The eyes of Jesus see all and he knows all, so he is able to justly judge. Jesus’ feet of burnished bronze are also given as a visual for this church. Metal, particularly bronze, is made by intense heat adding different alloys, to make it strong. It represents the foundation and the strength these believers needed to stand on, to live amidst idolatry and be untouched. God desires whole-hearted people, all of themselves, all for Jesus, all the time. He is zealous for our wholeness, being uninjured, unimpaired and undivided by sin.
“The root idea in the Old Testament word jealous is to become intensely red. It seems to refer to the changing color of the face or the rising heat of the emotions which are associated with intense zeal or fervor over something dear to us. In fact, both the Old and New Testament words for jealousy are also translated “zeal.” Being jealous and being zealous are essentially the same thing in the Bible. God is zealous—eager about protecting what is precious to Him.” Richard Strauss
God is intensely passionate about us being whole for our sake and the church’s. If we only give part of ourselves to him, a part of us becomes hurting and is diminished. And like a vine, if a branch isn’t attached, it will die (John 15). He wants all, our heart, mind, soul and body (Luke 10:27). The early church gave themselves heart, mind and soul, but were tempted by current heresies which believed the body didn’t matter. They were faithful in big things, but let parts of themselves fall and let small temptations eat them away from being wholly devoted. They needed each other to stand strong and be accountable for wholeness. God jealously guards our wholeness, and we need to keep fighting for it too, both personally and corporately as his people.
The King James Translation mentions ‘heart’ 884 times, highlighting the heart’s importance to God. David is called a man after God’s own heart despite of his sin (Acts 13:22). Nine times, David seeks the Lord with his whole heart as mentioned in his writings. The heart is written about more in the Psalms than any other book in Scripture.
Fight for wholeness in your life:
- Hold tightly to the basics of the Christian faith. Read the Apostles’ Creed. Is there anything or anyone who leads you away from its truths, or the fellowship of the church? Be proactive, determine in your heart to keep them, so you are ready when pressure comes.
- Jesus wants our whole heart, and he knows what’s in it. Confess those things that keep you from living and loving whole heartedly (James 4:1-10, Galatians 5:17-24).
- Find the nine verses in Psalms where King David recognizes and praises God with his whole heart (start with Psalm 119).
The promise and reward for overcoming, standing firm and fighting for wholeness is the Morning Star in this letter. Even when you are feeling broken and divided, Christ is there just like a morning star, bringing the first rays of yellow red light burning away the darkest night. The dawn faithfully comes and lights the whole sky. Let his light show you the way, let his love fight for your wholeness. If time allows, listen to the song Reckless Love.
By Donna Burns