Did you ever think you had everything all figured out about something important (at that time), only to realize later you didn’t? Were you so sure you were right, only to find out later you were completely wrong? Remember how you felt at the moment the truth was revealed.Was it embarrassing? Did it hurt? Were you heartbroken or devastated? That’s the message that was given to the church in Laodicea. Here’s what the text says:
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. – Revelation 3:14-19, NASB
The believers in Laodicea thought they had things figured out. They thought they had life beat. After all, they were content and “needed for nothing.” In doing so what were they putting their confidence in? They were putting their confidence in their present situation and in themselves. They certainly weren’t putting their trust in God. And as a result, Jesus has a very harsh word for them. He called them wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. This differs very greatly from where they thought they were. In other words, they were totally wrong.
Spiritually they had drifted away from God. They weren’t remembering their first love. They weren’t placing Him first. And they weren’t depending on Him. Quite the opposite. The description of being neither cold nor hot indicates that they were going through the motions because they knew what was expected, but they weren’t doing them for the right reasons, or with any real sense of motivation. We see this a lot today in the Church. Folks show up on Christmas and Easter because it’s a family tradition. People coming to Sunday morning worship because that’s what they know they should be doing. But they miss the most important aspect of being a Christian: having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Either they don’t know Him as Savior or they have long since drifted away, like an old friend from elementary school you get an email or Christmas card from once in a great while.
God wants us in touch with Him, in a living and vibrant relationship. He can be our best friend, our closest confidant, our number one advisor. It’s up to us if we have this kind of relationship with Him. If we don’t, He could describe us the same way as He did the church in Laodicea, as neither cold nor hot. Thankfully we have a God who cares about us. He gives us reminders in His Word about His expectations. And as He points out, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline.” The rest of that line, “be zealous and repent,” is up to us.