When I first joined Bible Study Fellowship in 2015, the book they were studying was Revelation. God led me to join that particular year to address the gaps in my understanding regarding this mysterious book of the Bible. To say it was rewarding would be an understatement. God clearly spoke through His word and I appreciated the balanced, yet joyous approach of BSF to this controversial book.
One of the weeks, we learned about the church of Laodicea. Laodicea is the last of the churches that God speaks to in the opening chapters of Revelation, and they receive the sternest correction.
Laodicea was a wealthy town known for (among other things):
- Expensive eye powder
- Rare black wool
- Renowned medical school
Laodicea is also the church that God says he is ready to spit out of his mouth, and not just “spit,” but vomit, according to the original language. Pardon my Greek.
Why does God say that about this church? Their wealth and accomplishments lead to an attitude of self-sufficiency that left no room for God’s passion, purpose, or provision. They had it all and looked no further than their own hands and intellect to get things done. (Sound familiar?)
Even when an earthquake decimated their town, they didn’t petition Rome for help because of the massive amounts of wealth they had on hand to rebuild. If they didn’t need Rome’s help, why would they need God?
After walking through the church’s struggles, I read Revelation 3:17-18 with fresh eyes.
You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
He calls them:
- Poor (they had wealth)
- Blind (they had eye powders to fix blindness)
- Naked (they had expensive clothes)
It’s like telling Wisconsin their cheese is worthless. Or Milan their clothes are rags.
Sometimes sins are blatant and we know we are walking in opposition to God. But sometimes our hearts and minds are clouded, and we can’t perceive how far we are from God, just like the Laodiceans. That’s when it’s time to pray the words that David prayed so long ago:
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
God was lovingly pointing them to what really mattered and what would last. He was trying to redirect their gaze to himself. Only in Him would they find lasting passion, fulfilling purpose, and unending provision. We need his love and truth to reveal those blind spots in our lives, to see the things we can’t see on our own, before we “change lanes” into something that could harm us.
Will you pray with me?
Father, thank you for loving us enough to correct us, just like a parent does for their child. Help our hearts to be sensitive to your direction and leading. Reveal to us our blind spots, and help us to see the truth about ourselves: the truth of how you see us. Let us walk in genuine repentance and stay ever close to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.