When we first started looking at Chapter 5, we focused our attention on Revelation 3:15-18. Today, we are going to revisit part of this Scripture... and how it may pertain to us. The following is what Chan has to say about the passage. As you read, try to imagine yourself as someone in a present-day Laodicea:
"Jesus' instruction to the people of the church of Laodicea was to buy from Him the things that really matter, the things they didn't even realize they needed. They were wealthy, but Jesus asks them to exchange their wealth for His gold that is refined through fire; they had clothing, but Jesus counsels them to buy clothes that were truly white and would cover their nakedness; they did not desire anything, but Jesus says they needed salve for their eyes that would cure their blindness. He asks them to give up what they thought was so nessecary and valuable, in exchange for what really matters." (emphasis added) p. 92
The Bible is peppered with references about the struggles of the "rich" when it comes to following Christ... truly following Him. However, this passage places all the cards of the table. I've read it at least a dozen times in my life (not including the dozen or so times I've read it this past week!)... but recently, God has revealed a deeper truth to me in this Scripture. It's a truth that I have been running from for quite some time... a truth that I fervently believe will free me from so many things I have struggled with these past few years. It's a truth, that if acted prudently upon, would command a closeness in my relationship with Christ that I have never experienced. The truth is this: I am that "rich" person from Laodicea.
It was at this EXACT point in my first reading of Crazy Love that I started to put the pieces together. Like many others I know, within moments of reading the first few pages, I fell in love with this book. It was so incredibly similar to that first, much anticipated, spring breeze that fills your house after a long, stagnant winter. It was a breath of fresh air, a change in perspective. I've also compared it to finding that one missing puzzle piece that you've been searching for... if you have kids, you understand! You have this 100 piece puzzle that's absolutely amazing, but somewhere along the way, you lost a piece (or two). Of course, you can still put the puzzle together, but it's never quite the same. That's where I was before reading this book. I was confident that I was a Christian, but something was just... off... something was missing. Within the first few chapters, I convinced myself that this book held the answers... it was my missing puzzle piece. But, after reading this particular segment... everything came into focus. This book wasn't the missing piece. It was just the instrument God used to open my eyes to His truth.
Here's the truth, as I understand it in Scripture... and how it pertains to me. I am one of those rich people in Laodicea. But, if I'm truly honest with myself, I've actually been in a far more dangerous place. For the people of Laodicea, blinded by their riches, were unable to acknowledge their need for Christ. I, on the other hand, will readily admit my need for Christ... I just don't want to give up my "riches" for Him... I want them both. For, you see, despite my label as Christian, I have held on to those things I've considered valuable in this world, moreso than I have to my faith and trust in Christ. (I can't help but think of my grandmother here... "You can't eat your cake and have it too!") But that's exactly what I've been doing. I've been giving just enough of myself... whatever that really means... all that really matters is that I haven't given all of myself... I've even refused to when He has required it. It was here that I realized something that would forever change my walk with Christ: I cannot fully embrace Christ with both arms, if I am still using those arms to hold on to the things of this world. One of the arguments I hear most from people is that "everything is okay in moderation," or "it's all about balance." But, here's my anwser to that: When Christ is at the center of your life, there really is no room for moderation. He eternally tips the scales... that NOTHING of this world could EVER balance them... and why would we want to. It comes down to believing that Christ is better than anything of this world. If we truly believed that... would we still be holding on to so many things here?
Here's a song that is really ministering to me at this moment. A lot of people I know feel that following Christ means you're "restricted" by what you can't do. (We'll have to save that topic for another day!) This song, however, gives us freedom... and purpose... and power for all we CAN do!