[to Thyatira] “I will not impose any other burden on you, except to hold on to what you have until I come…”
[to Sardis] “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent…”
[to Philadelphia] “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”
Revelation 2:24-25, 3:3, 3:11
It certainly does not need to be a great challenge for you to hear and learn new things about God’s kingdom and how to thrive in it. The resources available to you in this age of technology are seemingly infinite. You can be connected to the Word and helpful tools for studying it without much effort at all. Yet, one of your greatest challenges will be to remember what you have received and heard, holding it fast (3:3). Our own innate human weaknesses as well as the challenges and distractions of this world’s systems can make it very difficult to remember so much of what we’ve already learned.
There is more to the challenge than the mental retention of information, however. We are not just called by our Master to retain facts and figures about the Bible’s contents. No, we are to hold on to the truths we’ve received as realities that we are interactively experiencing as His children. We hold on to His standards of what is good and just in the face of this world’s rejection of those standards. We hold on to the promises of our Father and of our Messiah in the face of the fear and discouragement that our experiences and perceptions might inspire. We hold on to the calling to love, forgive, and serve others – even those who wish us harm – despite the prevalent temptation to reject, punish, and disdain them. We hold on to our covenant allegiance to the true Master of our lives when other masters clamor for our attention and affections.
Even in the face of persecutions and unjust suffering, the churches in Revelation heard their Shepherd call them to hold on to and remember what they had already received. They were to tenaciously cling to the very truths that had brought them into harm’s way. They were to continue to faithfully uphold the light of God’s truth no matter how fiercely the darkness pushed back against it.
This call is for you today as well, Disciple. Like your predecessors in the Kingdom way, you are commanded by your Master to be tenacious and faithful. Be purposeful in your disciplines of remembering, rehearsing, and practicing what you have learned. Continue to listen to and learn new things, but savor and live up to the depths of what you’ve already attained (Philippians 3:16). You are among those who are privileged to have the secrets of the Kingdom revealed to them. Celebrate this grace of God today as you also honor the sacred duty that accompanies it. Contend for the faith entrusted to the saints (Jude 1:3), for you are a saint (i.e. a ‘holy one’) because you are a disciple of the Holy One Himself. Every effort you make in doing these things will be richly rewarded and will help bring life and light to a world that desperately needs them!
Holding on with you,