Read: Revelation 3-7
Reflect: Remember the folk tale of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”? According to the Prindle Institute, the central character is the ruler of a city and he is very fond of fashion. Two imposter weavers enter his city and tell him they will create an incredible suit for him. However, the weavers only pretend to weave the suit and present the invisible fake suit to everyone in the city. Everyone lies and says they can see the suit. A child breaks everyone’s delusion by shouting out, “the Emperor is not wearing anything at all!”
This is what God’s Word is shouting to the Laodiceans when they are described as Laodiceans as “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” (NIV) Revelation3: 15-17 “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.” (The Message) The Laodiceans were parading religion and not an active burning walk with God. They had been living a lie and had deluded themselves into believing everything about their lives was in the height of spiritual fashion.
Over the years the Laodiceans had become lukewarm, indifferent, apathetic and half-hearted. Maybe if their faith had become cold, they might have been shocked into revival. But they thought that they were rich, had acquired great spiritual wealth and did not need a thing. They looked in the mirror and thought they had their act together. They had become comfortable and quite self-sufficient. God had become those cozy warm socks one slips into after a long day at work. Sadly, they didn’t realize that the God of the Universe wanted to spit them out of His mouth.
Like the Church of Laodicea, it is easy to forget that a genuine and excellent walk with God may often feel like running through a furnace. The fire of God’s Word has a purpose and is compared to a refiner’s fire which incinerates away the dross, the scum that forms on the surface of molten metal. The purpose of the fire is to reveal the gold of our faith. God says, “Those who I love I rebuke and discipline.” (3:19) A close walk with God burns away the trash and garbage in our lives so that God can give us white garments of righteousness to wear which “can cover your shameful nakedness; and He gives us “salve to put on your eyes so you can see.” We can walk wonderfully clothed in all of God’s glory, but we have to let Him first burn away the rubbish.
Reflect: So, in this unsettling season of world events, what are you allowing God to burn away? Is He freeing you from your death grip on material possessions, the comfort of feeling self-reliant, the assurance that you have enough wisdom of your own to navigate through life? Are you allowing God to make you feel uncomfortable enough so that you want to bend your knee in obedience to His Word, no matter the cost? Are you willing to look in God’s mirror and to view yourself as God sees you? Are you humble enough to realize that the child’s cry at the beginning of the story may be God’s own description of you? If so, He wants to lovingly clothe you in pure robes of the highest quality bought by the blood of Jesus Christ.