One of the words given by Jesus in the book of Revelation – within His messages written TO THE churches that has captivated so many of my thoughts in seeking understanding from the Lord is found in the warnings and instructions for the Church of Laodiceans.
To set this up, I want to emphasize that this message from Jesus was to HIS CHURCH – not to those who don’t believe in Him or those who aren’t called to Him. And that’s really important because in reading the book of Revelation in times past, I would skip through that book like all of the horrible events written within were directed at people who don’t know the Lord. But the fact is, the first three chapters of this book are specifically speaking to the 7 churches that belong to Jesus – filled with warnings and instruction to each one.
The church of Laodiceans Jesus describes as “warm”.. neither not nor cold. The Lord spoke to me about this one night while in prayer and meditation and he showed me the meaning of warm is comfortable. Which is SO INTERESTING considering the Holy Spirit is called “the comforter” and why would anyone need or want a comforter if they’re already comfortable? Paul talks about this and basically says that in our troubles we were sent the comforter and now we are able to comfort others. So back to warm, or comfortable… – Warm is a place where we have false securities, beliefs and ideas of where we stand with God. I know this place well because I believe that was my so-called relationship with Jesus for most of my life. I thought if I went to church, prayed daily and had been baptized with the prayer out of the way where I asked Jesus into my heart, I was good – nothing else required of my life…. Until disaster struck and I entered a process that continues today in understanding things very differently.
Jesus warns that he will spew this church out of his mouth – a very harsh description of rejection. And he goes onto explain why.. He says this church thinks they don’t need him, basically. These people are warm (comfortable) in their walk with the Lord. They are living lives that aren’t plagued with extreme circumstances – they have food to eat, they’re increased with goods and they’re getting by pretty well. And Jesus says that they’re thinking is a lie. He says the truth is that these people are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. And the truth is a spiritual truth – not in the physical. We know this because the physical, carnal mind is an enemy of God. So the things that the mind seeks, will never be in line with what the Spirit of God seeks.
Jesus then gives THE WAY to this church (the answer). Our Great Counselor says “I counsel you to be gold of me tried in the fire”. And He says, then they will be made rich, (meaning to be covered in white raiment), then they will be clothed, no longer in shame of their nakedness and THEN they will be able to see. I want to again mention, these people Jesus are speaking to THINK they are doing good. They think they’ve got all they need, they obviously think they can see just fine and they are covered in all the things that make them happy (but they don’t get it… Jesus is warning them that they’re carnal minded thoughts are backwards).
So here’s the big question… What does HE mean when He instructs them to buy gold of him tried by the fire? Well, it’s not an earthly type of gold, it therefore can not be bought with money – remember the 10 virgins; 5 were wise and had their lamps full and 5 tried to go out and BUY oil for their lamps when the Lord called them. The ones that tried to buy their oil in this world were left behind. And then, what kind of fire is this? Gold is referenced in 1 Peter 1:7 with FAITH – it says Faith is MORE PRECIOUS than Gold, though it be tried with fire. Jesus is talking about our Faith. He’s instructing them to NOT seek the gold of the carnal minded man (things that make us comfortable in this world), but to seek from Him that our FAITH be made perfect – tried by the fire – the thing that is far more precious than gold.
Jesus goes onto say that as many that HE LOVES, he rebukes and chastens. Chasten in Hebrew means to correct by punishment or suffering. In Hebrews (12), it’s written that if we do not endure chastisement, in which ALL are partakers, then we are bastards – not SONS (of God).
Jesus continues in this message to this church by saying He’s at the door waiting for us and if we knock, he will come into to sup with us – in Hebrew this means to dine with us – to eat and drink. Remember He did this with the disciples and he also told the disciples that they would indeed drink from HIS cup. That cup Jesus was ordained to drink from is found in His prayer to the Father when Jesus was sweating blood, asking the Father to take that cup from Him, “but either way YOUR will not mine be done.” This is a beautiful demonstration of Jesus relating to our most horrific moments of our lives, when we’re asking the Father to remove our situation – to fix it and deliver us from having to walk through troubles and carry that cross that Jesus said we must pick it up and carry if we want to follow him.
He ends this message by delivering a promise to those in this church who “overcome”.
I feel led to write about this today because, if I’m being honest, very difficult circumstances are what caused my heart to cry out to God – I mean REALLY cry out to Him… not the little “keep my kids safe and give us money and good jobs and easy lives” types of prayers that I’d prayed my entire life. This was a “change our hearts” type of prayer – I literally prayed referencing scripture from the Word of God that had nothing to do with physical gain. And when I did that, more trouble came my way. And it’s confusing at times and I’ve spent so many nights thinking through all this wondering where I went wrong. But in the hardest of days and in the most desperate moments of my life, those were the moments when I felt His presence, received His revelation and understood His plan (even if it’s just a tiny glimpse)… but undeniably so.
Perhaps the heart longs for the thing we are most confused about and terrified of all in one breath – FAITH…. The richest of the rich in His creation that we can possible possess on this side of Glory.. to know Him and believe upon His name with a testimony that moves mountains in not only our lives but in the lives of others. God is near to the broken hearted… it’s not just a scripture to skip over, patting ourselves on the back with motivational thoughts.. HE is found in life’s storms.
So I keep reminding myself of the question the Lord asked me earlier this week, “What are you praying for?” And I look around at everything that moths can eat, including my own flesh, and I just ask the Lord to strengthen us in Jesus to give us Understanding (not the fruit from the tree of knowledge this world is selling), but the TRUTH that can only be known when HE opens our eyes and causes us to surrender to Him and all of His ways that our minds can’t understand.
Broken is beautiful… because it’s part of the journey to HIM. It’s that awakening when everything seems destroyed, that the stuff of this life just seems gloomy and empty – and the Heart breaks free from the temporary things and seeks the only thing that is everlasting… the ALPHA and the OMEGA… Jesus Christ.
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.