“I know your works—your love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. I know that your last works are greater than the first. But I have this against you: You tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and teaches and deceives my servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat meat sacrificed to idols…”
Coke or Pepsi?
“Is Pepsi okay?” You’ve heard this phrase—or something similar to it—from the lips of your server at the restaurant. And while it seems just a simple interaction, your answer to the question says a lot about you. It reveals what you care about. Even a matter as simple as this one is still a matter of toleration. Here’s the truth of what we tolerate.
It doesn’t seem to be a word that carries much weight for any of us. Yet all throughout our lives, each of us chooses the things we’re willing to deal with, even if they go against our preferences. If we can handle Pepsi over Coke, we’ll tolerate it. When the grocery store checkout line is longer than we’d like, we’ll tolerate it. But what can this lenience reveal about us?
What Do We Value?
“Tolerate” is a word devoid of passion, yet its place in our lives reveals the things that we are most passionate about. If you’re willing to settle for something sweet and carbonated, the flavor is no big deal. If you know you want those groceries anyway, you don’t mind the line too much. You value the things you’ll receive from putting up with those inconveniences.
So it begs the bigger question: what sins in our lives are we passionlessly tolerating?
Passions and Values
The church at Thyatira seems to value the things of the Lord. Today’s verse tells us they led lives marked by love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. These are all good things and no small feat! Yet the Lord finds fault not with their good works committed, but with the ideologies of the world they’re letting take up space in their lives. These Christ followers did excellent things for Jesus, but neglected to abstain from the teachings of the world.
Their toleration of these teachings led them to commit acts that were contrary to the things of the Lord…things which they seemingly valued. So, are we passionately pursuing Jesus—in action and in truth? Are we holding tightly to His truth, making no room for passionless toleration of sin? May our lives and actions be more marked by our passion for Christ than by our toleration of everything else. This is the truth of what we tolerate.
Think about the power of the gospel in your life. Do your most passionate pursuits in life center around Christ’s love? Does the overflow of this passion lead you to fight sin and temptation to tolerate it? Take some time to reflect on your passions, and thank the Lord for the power He has in redeeming our pursuits.