Hey Laodicea, Why Are You So Scared?

Revelation 3:14, 15-22, ‘These are the words of…the Ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 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. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

I am in shock, but not really. I’ve been watching Facebook for the past 24 hours and I’ve really started to see the heart of the people in a different way. In a way that only comes out under situations of duress. I’m friends with many people who are not believers – I’m not at all startled by their reactions. Seriously. Their reactions make sense to me. It’s the believers’ reactions that I’m startled by. There are a lot of pretty right leaning Christians who are obviously ecstatic today, posting stuff that is anywhere from excited to downright rubbing others faces in it. There are even more Christians who are extremely disturbed by Trump winning. They are sad, scared, crying. They are seriously perturbed.

Why?

Let’s take a step back and quickly revisit our brothers and sisters who were killed in the early church.

4af9a8b5f266bc23efe7f1646a542ad5

The Roman Empire was no friend to early Christians in the first three centuries. Followers of Jesus, lovers of Jesus, were persecuted because they refused to worship Roman gods or acknowledge the emperor as a divine being. The refusal of this was equivalent to refusing to swear allegiance to your country. But let’s rewind a little more to the night of July 18th, 64 AD. This is the night of the Great Fire of Rome. It was a fire that caused devastation to Rome for six days. The rumor went out that Nero actually caused the fire. Regardless of whether he did start it, he blamed Christians in the city for being the arsonists. (Sound like anyone you know? Nazi Germany circa 1930s would have been my answer). Even after Nero’s reign came to an end, persecution of our beloved sisters and brothers (in Heaven now) continued for centuries. John was given the vision of revelation sometime in the latter half of the first century. And Christians lived through the early persecution faithfully.

damnatio ad bestias

Which translates to English as ‘damnation to beasts.’ It was a form of execution during the 1st to 3rd centuries in the Roman Empire. The traditional lions weren’t the only animals used for human execution, but also panthers, bears, leopards and tigers. The Roman senator and historian Tacitus recorded Christians being wrapped in animal skins by Nero (after the fire) and being attacked to death by dogs. Tertullian recorded that Romans typically blamed Christians for their problems and would say, “Away with them to the lions!”

Brutal.

Yes, I realize that was graphic. I’m trying to illustrate using contrast. I think that was Herbert Schmalz point in the beauty and the torment of Faithful Unto Death (painting above ^). Here we have the very tender beautiful image bearers of God about to die at the hands of the Romans. Of Satan (did you see the curious being kneeling in blood thirst next to one of our sisters?). But they couldn’t destroy their heart, their souls, they were filled with the Spirit and are alive forever more in our Father’s house. But that’s a tangent. My point is that Christians have lived through brutal persecution in the world since Jesus went home after the resurrection. (Let’s not even talk about modern day persecution, especially by ISIS). Now, here’s my question: how is it possible that the earliest Christians (and non-American Christians) could face such horrifying torment for the sake of Christ and stay faithful unto death, but here in America there is an outcry of hate, fear, anxiety, worry and self-preservation like none I have seen before simply because of a presidential race? The outcome of which will not (logically) destroy any constitutional rights or cause physical harm to anyone? Why? But we have brothers and sisters who have endured horrible things and they didn’t snap. They stayed strong.

Why?

I think the answer lies in what we see every other day of the week. It’s the constant reposting of memes of basic (and I do mean basic) thoughts and concepts of life with God, mostly flowery, all day every day as the motto for life. It screams that most of the foundation of the laity is filled with very young and immature believers. They are all for building life here, not for storing up treasure in heaven. And so it needs the psychological boosters to keep perspective happy to help build their little Eden in this fallen world. It’s a church that is young, with wobbly knees not able to stand up on its own (and not wobbly knees in a cute toddler way, I mean in a lazy way. Like he’s-been-sitting-on-the-couch-for-two-weeks-eating-ice-cream-and-watching-movies-and-now-his-legs-hurt-when-he-goes-to-the-bathroom-kind-of-wobbly-way). It’s a church that wants to be pursued, but refuses to pursue at all. It’s a consumeristic church, one that cannot stand the idea of being uncomfortable. It’s Laodicea in all her glory. And as we get closer and closer to the end, the birth pains will get worse and worse. We’ll see the fringes of Laodicea start to get cut loose. If you want life here in lieu of a life with the cross, so be it. If you want life with Jesus, so be it. Make the choice.

It’s bad. It’s dramatic, and not in a good epic movie or Shakepearean way, it’s drama. And it’s immature.

Seriously, what do we have to be afraid of? So what? So what if the presidential election draws in the antichrist in the next 3 years? I’m ready for the Tribulation, are you? I’m ready to be home with my family. So what if there’s persecution? I’m not saying there will be, but so what if there is? I’m also not saying the presidential candidate will even try to do that, or that he could if he wanted to. What I am saying is God is running processes on this world that will  one day bring about the end times. Let’s do this, we have God, fear has no place in perfect love, God’s perfect love. Can we not strive to live life in such a way that fear is subjugated in our hearts to faith in our Beloved and that we can go about our daily lives resting in Jesus’ omnipotence? 

Laodicea, it’s time we grow up. The end is coming upon us like a storm that we cannot outrun. We will be home with our Bridegroom soon. We must stay faithful to the end, we must love others ruthlessly until the end, we must worship our Beloved Jesus with all we have for all time. Jesus’ closing words to Laodicea:

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” – Revelation 3:19-22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

21 thoughts on “Hey Laodicea, Why Are You So Scared?

  1. So good; so true. I just had and wrote about some similar thoughts… I wasn’t going to say anything at all about the election, but I felt that I had to. I waited until today and had to pray hard about my words, too. May God cause to fall to the ground anything that was not of Him in what I wrote.

    But yes, both the outrage and the gloating by those who call themselves after Christ’s name are highly inappropriate. I love that you tied it in with lukewarmness because… well, because that’s what it is.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I felt the same way. It’s just shocking to me how bad the words have been on social media. It’s just verbal violence. I’m especially surprised by the number of Christians either A) gloating of the election or B) siding with a popular, secular ‘morality’ against the candidate elect. To that I say A) we don’t have the God given right to gloat here and B) the last thing we need is to give up our Godly wisdom on living out his will because it’s popular in our circles to say X about someone. Both of those items destroy intimacy with God and decrease opportunities to minister to others. I’m excited to read your post! And same with me, may God hide and wither anything I say or write that is not his heart and will.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear you. I shared your post with a friend because we were just talking about this yesterday while the kids played. Right now, we are both really praying for wisdom on how we can redeem the time and walk wisely as per Ephesians 5:15-16. If you would, pray for my words tomorrow. I have a baby shower to attend and two of the people coming are two of those whom I have really struggled with concerning how they’ve handled this election. I just really need wisdom if the topic comes up (I certainly won’t bring it up for the poor, new mama who is about to have her first baby, and honestly hope no one will be so uncouth as to spoil her baby shower with politics). But… I just want to be a person who always speaks truth but always, always in love. Mainly, I want God to speak through me because only He knows exactly what needs to be said.

        I will say this – I am encouraged how many people have responded with truth and grace and encourage others to do the same. We have some missionary friends up in Rhode Island who started a college ministry, and they had an excellent article on how to respond to this election as a Christian. There is a faithful remnant, even in Laodicea. And as Thess. 3:2b – 3a says, “… For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful…”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I will be praying! Let me respond in full tomorrow to your comments…I’m getting a little sleepy and I have to finish my chores and spend some time with Jesus before heading into dreamland. You’ll do great though, you’ll handle it in wisdom and love if it does come up 🙂

        Jesus, I come before you in this space just to pray over my sister for tomorrow at this baby shower. Please give her your wisdom to know what to say and what not to say to these hearts who struggle with politics. Let her be a peace maker, who also speaks the truth, but always in your love. Speak through her whatever you want to say, let her be your mouth piece. And of course, dear Jesus, your will be done always in our lives. In your name, amen.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. How did the baby shower go? That’s neat, having friends on mission at a college. My boss used to be a director for Campus Crusade for like 7 years, he loved it. College ministry is so cool. I loved being apart of the college ministry when I was an undergrad.

        Amen, there is a faithful remnant, even in Laodicea. I like how that’s worded. I might have to steal that one day as a post title! Hey, we’re part of it right?!

        And thank you for sharing my post with your friend! That made me smile. That’s too kind of you. Hope your friend enjoyed it as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The shower actually went well. Thankfully, no one brought up politics although someone did go off a bit about how tedious nursing was and how horrible a body feels after childbirth. I was able to catch the mom-to-be and counter those words without calling the other lady out publicly, so it was good. Fortunately, the girl whose shower it was is one of 11 kids and pretty much knows the ropes so she wasn’t intimidated anyway.

        Yes, sir! Steal away. None of it is mine, anyway — it’s all His, right? 😉 I know my friend planned to read yours this weekend; she was babysitting for her sister so had her hands full!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. So glad to hear it went well and politics were checked at the door! Oh, we’ve heard moms talk about nursing being a pain…it’s usually ones we wouldn’t take advice from in the first place! My wife nursed all of ours, up until ~2 years old, and it’s easier, it’s free, it’s bonding, it’s what God intended originally, it’s best for them. Haha, being one of 11 kids should set you straight!

        Thanks! Feel free to always steal my stuff too, it’s not really mine anyway God can have it all and give it freely to anyone. The only hope or expectation is that it hopefully built someone up in Christ or drew them deeper into intimacy with Jesus and others.

        So talking about babysitting, we had two of our kids cousins spend the night Saturday night. Parts went really well, other parts…well, let’s just say our kiddos needed a few more hours of sleep! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Absolutely — my prayer is always that it will be used to honor Him, to set someone free, or some other way for Him. I have been writing a weekly prayer for our church for years and occasionally I will find that something He moved me to write (I always ask Him for what to say) really impacted someone. Not always, but it’s so nice to know He can use my silly efforts.

        And yes, I hear you on having sleepovers, even “just” cousins. We have had many, many experiences with that and while it can be great fun, it can also bring out the cranky later on. 😉 I’ve become less of a fan after many years of it, but there are times it is absolutely necessary. I have a dear friend who has epilepsy and there was a time when she had major complications that I had her kids for nearly a week. Fortunately, fatigue knocked the kids out earlier after the first night or so. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that about her. We had something similar happen a fee years back. When we just had our 2 oldest, one of our friends had a major infection which turned into blood poinsoning. They were from Michigan and had no family in state. Her husband was in Texas at the time on a job and he had to travel back. We watched her 3 plus our 2, all 3 years old and under part of the time while he was coming home and was at the hospital. In retrospect, now that we hopefully will be a 5 kid family soon in the next several years, it wasn’t that bad. They played well and then fell asleep from play exhaustion. But it was a lot!
        That’s neat that your write that prayer for the church. I feel the same way, it’s so good to let us be moved by the Spirit in the moment to pray for something or someone specific.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Yikes! At least my 5 were older at the time… 😉 But it is very nice to be able to help when necessary!

        There is really so much to pray for that I can see why we are to “pray without ceasing.” It’s neat to see God at work in and through it all.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. It literally could be unending for me in praying, I just want to be in unending bonds with him, and I am, but where he is my focus, completely, at all times. But there is necessary work to be done here for the kingdom, which split the attention from him…it has to be done! I love him being a luxury though to us, an oasis to enjoy amid the desert of the world.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. By the way, I feel that I should say my friend with the epilepsy is doing completely better and has been for over a year now. They had a rough go for several years, but God has brought about some amazing things through it all!

        Liked by 1 person

      11. That’s wonderful to hear! I had a family member who suffered from seizures and it wrecked their lives. he did finally get through it but it was rough. God has purpose in everything I’ve seen, even in my family members health issues. It’s hard though!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! And well said. We have to keep a perspective in the area of politics. Giving God glory in and through it all! I think many Christians swing either one way or the other, either too political, or none at all. Neither is good. God help us to keep a godly perspective, love justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Johanna!! Amen, let’s give God the glory through it all. I agree we need to have a Godly perspective, not swing too far one way or the other, and do exactly what you said, live a Micah 6:8 life in our actions. Love it!!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s