I don’t know about you, but I would have a hard time if someone came up to me and said, “You make me sick to my stomach” or this gem: “I’ve watched you for a while and what I see from you makes me want to puke.” Pretty harsh, isn’t it? Yet, this is what Jesus Christ said to the church in Laodicea in chapter three of the book of Revelation.
Christ says that the works of the Christians there were done solely in the flesh and were halfhearted, insincere, and self-indulgent. They were very wealthy and with it came pride and the feeling that they could handle it all and didn’t need anything else, and that included the Lord. They literally put their faith, hope, and love on themselves instead of Christ, which included their health and their wealth. As a result, their works weren’t sincere. They felt they could fill their spiritual needs by physical means.
Jesus gives them straight-up advice: Stop trusting in yourself – turn to Him. Christ is the one who offers true spiritual riches which far exceeds any worldly wealth. We need to be on alert to the same conditions that plagued the church in Laodicea. Let’s look at four conditions that were evident back then as well as today. Do a self-evaluation as you read the conditions and the follow-up questions. After each condition is a passage of Scripture which reveals the solution to the condition.
: You think you are prosperous because of God’s blessing, but you are spiritually poor.
· Do you spend more time thinking about finances than about ministry or the things of God?
· Do you give regularly and generously, or do you withhold gifts?
· Do you spend far more time and money on yourself rather than on others?
Matthew 6:19-21 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
: You think you are self-sufficient and don’t need anything, but you are spiritually lacking and spiritually miserable.
· Do you hide your needs from friends, family, and church members out of embarrassment or pride?
· When you struggle with temptation or sin, do you try to conquer it alone, or do you seek help?
· When making life decisions, do you think through it yourself or seek the counsel of others?
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
: You think you are aware of your own spiritual condition, but you are blinded by your own sin.
· Do you compare your spiritual life and growth to that of others rather than the perfect standard of Christ?
· Do you allow “small” sins to linger because they aren’t really harming anyone?
· When nobody is looking, do you say or do or even think things that you don’t want others to see?
Hebrews 4:12-13 “12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
: You view the success of your Christian life by your many good works, but the reality is you are starving spiritually.
· Are you content with just having faith without a “fully” changed lifestyle to go with it?
· Do you often point out your personal good works for others to see and recognize, or do you keep those things anonymous?
· Do you act “one way” around us church people, but it’s different around others (like family or friends)?
Isaiah 64:6 “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”
I am going to go out “on a limb” and say, at least one of those questions apply to you. Maybe more. So, consider these questions, do a self-evaluation, talk with God about this, because God wants to bless you with eternal riches. He wants to provide your true spiritual needs. Ask Him to open your eyes to your real condition and then make the changes needed to be in line with Him.