“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.” – Rev. 4:1-2, NKJV
I love the Book of Revelation. From childhood I have enjoyed its metaphors and hidden meaning, as well as the unique storyline of the very last days in which God’s glory is revealed and the powers of darkness are extinguished forever.The first few chapters of Revelation hold a special meaning for me, being the message of Jesus to the seven churches, showing them their weakness and praising their strengths.
To each one who conquers their weakness, whether it be of idolatry or immorality, He gives a reward. “To him who overcomes…” He joyfully declares, again and again throughout Revelation 2 and 3. Jesus is incredibly kind to reveal those unrighteous ways that we are blind to, convicting us by the Holy Spirit so He can bring us into wholeness. Not only that, He then turns around and lavishly rewards us for obeying His leadership by the empowerment of His grace.However, over the years, a question arose in my heart: “How in the world do we do this? How does a person overcome as a way of life?” I desperately wanted to live a life worthy of His calling, a life wholly given over to loving Him, but my weaknesses are great. I knew that He loved me despite my weakness, but I also knew that He was calling me to a higher place, to be an overcomer, to no longer let sin reign in my mortal body (Rom. 6:12), to have control over me. Not that I could possibly attain perfection, but that I would ever long for the holiness of Christ to be made manifest in me (Phil. 3:12).
As I dialogued with the Lord on this subject, poring over those verses in Revelation 2 and 3, my eyes fell on Revelation 4. In this chapter, the apostle John is caught up in the Spirit into the throne room of God. There he sees the Ancient of Days, and attempts to describe the glory of what he is witnessing. Suddenly, it dawned on me that the secret to overcoming is to continually gaze on the beauty of the Uncreated One.
King David understood this reality. In the Book of Psalms he writes “one thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.” – Psalm 27:4. David realized that focusing on his weaknesses only made them stronger, but gazing on the beautiful God left him longing for more of God instead of more sin.This is the way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13).
This is how we get off the horrible, tormenting cycle of besetting sin. This is how our weakness becomes a testimony of His grace, instead of the cause of our destruction. Fixing our eyes on the majesty and the glory of the Author and Finisher of our faith will help us run this race with endurance. Continually partaking of Jesus, the Bread of Life will satisfy the cravings that reside in every human heart. God designed us to need Him, to need to lean into His strength, into His heart. And then He rewards us for it.