In the book of Revelation, Jezebel was most likely some kind of Sunday school teacher or cell group leader in the church. It seems as if she was a Christian, not some cultural "rock star" perverting the people—she was in the church. She taught duplicity and compromise, a "Jesus and immorality" gospel. Her doctrine said that you could be a Christian, sleep around and do whatever you wanted to sexually. She certainly taught that individuals were in charge of their sexuality, not God, and they were free to do as they pleased. However, it appears as if this Jezebel was still in the early stages of her teaching. Since the Lord knows there is only one end to this kind of sin—destruction—he offered an olive branch. "I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality" (Rev. 2:21a).
This verse demonstrates the incredible patience of Jesus. Jesus gives her time to repent. Wow. The truth is He does the same thing with us, offering us time to repent. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin repeatedly in the hopes that we will turn away. A sign of the Lord's mercy in our lives is the allotment of time to make a change. He doesn't come in with a heavy hand and demand we stop; rather, He comes gently and gives us room. This approach doesn't last forever, of course, but isn't our God's generosity a beautiful thing? He is extending that same grace to you today. If you will be honest with yourself, seek help and get clean, God's blessing will return in a great way to your life.
However, in this woman's case, her heart was unwilling to repent. She was saying in her heart, "No thanks, I'll do what I want." Here is what I have discovered about unwillingness. If we refuse to change, after repeated conviction of the Holy Spirit, our heart becomes hardened. We are now walking in the opposite direction of God. Because He is our Father, He will let us drift for a while before he takes action. By that time, His actions may include temporary pain or humiliation in order to get our attention. In all of this, His real goal is to bring us home so we can be long-term friends.
I am glad God is patient with each of us and walks alongside of us even in the sexual areas of our life. I am also glad, as a Father, He is willing to bring us to a place of willingness again so we can repent of our deception. Here's an example if we don't, "I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds" (Rev. 2:22).
A bed of suffering does not sound so good to me, especially when Jesus is the one making the bed. I tell the men who attend my conferences that the devil has to guess how to hurt us, but God doesn't. He knows exactly what will create pain for us. If we are God's child, He most likely has "spanked" us at some point in our lives for wrong behaviors. For some it was pride, others fear or flat-out rebellion. To me, this bed of suffering is a spanking on steroids.
If you notice in the second part of that verse, the Lord says, "and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds" (Rev. 2:22b). I love the word "unless." Even in this letter, God was reaching out to those in adultery, and asking them to repent so He wouldn't have to bring suffering into their lives. Jesus really prefers our voluntary repentance to discipline. During my 20-plus years of counseling, I have never heard from a man or woman who actually committed adultery say they would do it again. From where I sit, the act itself creates so much suffering, guilt, shame and double-mindedness that the adulterer would give everything they possess to take it all back.
I am a Jesus guy. I know He died for all sin and will immediately forgive a repentant heart. However, the stubborn will encounter long-term consequences such as STDs, pregnancies outside of wedlock, lawsuits, job loss or removal from ministry for a season. And that's not all..." I will put her children to death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the hearts and minds. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds" (Rev. 2:23).
This is a powerful verse. Jesus is very straightforward here. Children's lives are in the balance. He will visit the sins of the fathers on their children. Jesus' intent is that, if necessary, this discipline would clarify to all the churches that He is Lord of the church and this flagrant disobedience in leading others into disobedience is intolerable. When He says He repays us according to our deeds, He is staying true to His character. This is reminiscent of the parable He told in Matthew 25:32 about the sheep and the goats. He has upped the stakes and now the church leadership in Thyatira is faced with a decision: ""Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this teaching, who have not known what some call the 'depths of Satan,' I will put on you no other burden. But hold firmly what you have until I come" (Rev. 2:24-25).
There are men and women in every church who are the real deal. They are sexually pure before marriage and in marriage. There are ministers of the gospel who are also pure and have no sexual issues whatsoever. I am so glad there are men and women like this today.
On the other hand, I have counseled male and female ministry leaders who were fully sexually addicted. They were cheating, lying to their spouse and ministry partners, yet after they repented, they were fully healed. Today, they live sexually pure lives. I have observed firsthand how God can translate sickness into glorious health. If you're struggling today, there is always a team of people here at Heart to Heart Counseling Center ready to help you. And Jesus won't miss a beat.
Satan's so-called "deep secret" is quite simple: be immoral. He has used this same trick throughout the centuries, but it's not a secret anymore. Anytime you're being tempted into immorality or viewing pornography, you are following the teaching of our enemy hook, line and sinker. Anytime you are following the path of sexual purity, you are following the Spirit and teaching of our God. It is that simple. I can tell you that after seeing so many men come clean from this fog, the simplicity of the truth of sexual purity becomes clear and self-evident once again. Actually, I love seeing this light bulb come on in men, be it at a conference or in my office.
We are finally here at the best part of this letter, the one verse that turned my world upside down and fueled my desire to stay sexually pure over the past two decades. I have walked you through some painful Scriptures up until now. Now here is the payoff. ""To him who overcomes and keeps My works to the end, I will give authority over the nations" (Rev. 22:26).
This Scripture promises that if we overcome the duplicity of sexual immorality, God says, "I will." He didn't say "maybe," or "I might"; He said "I will." When God says, "I will," He keeps His Word. Period. When God says He will give you authority over the nations, He will. Notice He did not say authority just in your home, your city, state, or country—but "over the nations."
Your DNA as a believer in Christ with sexually purity is to have authority over the nations.
Do you now see what this battle is really about? It is not about sex at all; it is about your destiny to rule and reign with Christ. I know this Scripture is true. I am living it and God keeps expanding what He is doing to help more people globally. You are no different. You are God's warrior on earth.
Your destiny is waiting!
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books including, Clean. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on his Facebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at [email protected].
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