«How wonderful is God in his holy place! The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Give praise to God!!» Psalm 68:35, NIRV
IN REVELATION 3 we find the message God sent to the church in the city of Philadelphia, one of the seven churches mentioned in the last book of the Bible. Unlike the other cities, which were great urban and commercial centers, Philadelphia «never obtained the political, economic, or religious importance possessed by some of the other cities.»* Nevertheless, in spite of its low political, economic, or religious value, it was a church that did not receive any reprimand from the risen Christ.
The absence of a rebuke might provide a hint that the congregation enjoyed a healthy spiritual life. He who is holy and true expounds on this, highlighting the church’s obedience to the Scriptures and its faithfulness in keeping God’s name. Although it was not an important city in the sight of men, it was extremely precious and special to our Lord.
However, in spite of being a victorious church, Jesus identified it as a church with «little strength» (Revelation 3:8). Doesn’t that sound like a contradiction? How can a congregation that is not strong be spiritually healthy? Humans link victory with strength, not vulnerability; nevertheless, despite not being strong, Philadelphia was a healthy church.
What Revelation is trying to tell us is that since Philadelphia was aware of its «little strength,» it was ready to allow God’s power to act powerfully in and through it. Paul helps us understand this by saying, «For to be sure, [Christ] was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in Him, yet by God’s power we will live with Him in our dealing with you» (2 Corinthians 13:4, NIV).
Are you feeling weak? Do you consider yourself a Christian of «little strength?» That does not mean your spiritual life is an utter failure, or that your faith is immature. Like Paul, you can say, «l will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me» (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Every soul that is vulnerable and has little strength should remember that God is wonderful «in his holy place! The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Give praise to God!» (Psalm 68:35, NIRV). That is why the church in Philadelphia moved onward; and we are able to forge ahead by that strength, too.