“You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’
And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”
Rev. 3:17, NLT
If you would come to me and speak this boldly, I’d run you off. “You have no right speaking to me in this way!” Our personal relationships are essentially based on “boundaries.” My continuing friendship with you is based to a large degree on your respecting these social rules and restrictions. We look to social protocol to guide us.
God is the only one we would allow to speak to us so boldly and directly (and even then it’s still unwelcome).
Self-sufficiency has become the specific goal of the speaker, it is how he measures a respectable Christian life. Respectability however, is a disturbing development for simple believers. “I don’t need a thing.” Within our hearts there is a hunger to be independent. Self-sufficiency and pride are disturbing thought processes for simple disciples.
There is a delusion that is quite prevalent– we may feel that we have arrived. We finally are capable of something important. We have done all the necessary things, we have jumped through all the hoops, and have “made it.” It somehow feels like we have accelerated the sanctification process. Much of this comes from a feeling of being ‘spiritually exceptional.’
Jesus is confrontive. He will not diminish the truth, to spare our feelings. I think that that is quite remarkable. We esteem and value honesty, but when it is focused on us it seems difficult.
“You don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (Rev. 3:17).
None of these five words would we use to describe ourselves. Let’s consider them anyway:
- wretched– terrible, very bad
- miserable– unhappy, depressed
- poor– lacking sufficient resources
- blind– sightless, without vision
- naked– bare, without covering
These five words that describe the “real” position of the believer in pride. These five words dismantle us, stripping us of our lies. We have evaluated ourselves and discovered that we must be exceptional believers. (Perhaps my innate specialness is true after all!)
Twenty years ago my wife and I took an evaluation for placement in a language school. I assumed I was quite exceptional, but two hours later I was told that I failed the test and would be assigned to the lowest level for the rest of the semester. I was shocked! And my dear wife, was put into the highest. What a blow to my pride!
“We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ.”
He reaches out to us because He loves us profoundly. It is a love that is not based on any kind moral performance. However, it is quite necessary for us to step into the piercing light, and an intense desire to enter reality. It is difficult for us to slough off the lies, and to understand what is true. Trust me, Jesus speaks nothing but the truth, and He loves us while He does it.
- The Church: A Banquet for Your Friends or a Refuge for the Poor? (thedrum.typepad.com)
- How Do We Follow Him? (Rev. 2-3) (sharperthanatwoedgedsword.wordpress.com)