It’s been a busy day, family in town for a special military burial for my dad who died in June. Please go easy on me? The words are on the tip of my tongue, but not just right. As a special perk for your kindness, I’ve included some fun facts at the end:) Oh, and readers around the globe, will you help me, an average American, understand your country better? There’s a special question at the end for you. And Americans, don’t worry, you can add more to what I’ve said, after all, I’m only one of millions! -Through it all, Julie
We’re not that perfect Christian couple, my husband and I. We don’t sit and wax over scripture together at night kids tucked in and we don’t often go through the highlights after a Sunday morning teaching. Christian music isn’t dripping off our lips or echoing through the walls of our home.
Many nights when we’ve finally flopped down to sleep after a normal day, we sigh in nasal harmony. After a couple deep reviving breaths I say in a near silent whisper, “Do you want to pray?”
I know prayer is the cornerstone to parenting. I know we need to be praying for our marriage, for our leaders for our world and in these moments, the weight of importance drops on my heart, as if we don’t pray at that moment for such things they will all be lost for eternity.
Inevitably a snorted, “Huh?” cascades out his mouth. Agitated, I shake him a bit and proclaim like a hell and damnation pastor that we must surly pray. Worse than the dozing “huh” are the times there is no response. Silence is the answer to my question. His priorities clearly compromised I pray, rather, sulk to God.
There is nothing more maddening than a tepid response, nothing.
When he tries to pick a special restaurant to take me to dinner and I’m ambivalent to the options (“sure”) he grows frustrated. Desiring to show care for my desires and nurturing our relationship, I can only imagine how crummy that feels.
You can find fault with the humanity of our marriage, but it leads me to wonder what it feels like to be God, shelved like a prize to behold but never touch. Not directly rejected, just left alone like a forgotten add-on to life. Isn’t that what God has become to Americans, the additional toy to accompany the others that were once loved but now forgotten? The extra shot of espresso? The newest purse to a bursting collection.
“It’s all good” fumbles out ambivalent mouths daily. Do they really believe that? We have become so preoccupied with creating equality we have lost sight that all things are not equal. Just go to the coffee cart in the morning and notice people are not on the equality fence when it comes to their coffee creations. With four bucks on the line, if that hot cup of flavored water doesn’t please, it will be remade. But we forget the price we pay for putting gods on the throne of God bears a much higher price.
Unlike the other letters, God doesn’t begin the letter to Laodicea with commendation.
Not even a morsel or an attempt to find the smallest praiseworthy work. He wants to vomit the lukewarm people of Laodicea.
Laodicea is wealthy and in need of NOTHING. Can you believe it? Most Americans can.
Sure, we want a newer car, tech gadget, the deluxe media package streamed to our homes, designer clothes and handbags, we long to remodel the house and purchase new furniture. These are not needs. Most Americans know where to get another meal. Most Americans have more than one pair of pants and shirts. Most Americans have shelter. Most Americans have their actual needs met like those in Laodicea.
The primal needs of food, shelter and clothing met but Jesus states they lack the three most important items.
ONE: Gold refined in the fire for wealth
Americans nurture comfort and given the choice will take a false sense of security over reality. Suffering is labeled evil in America, life should be good, easy and plenty, but that’s a lie.
Jesus states Laodicea’s ultimate wealth comes in the form of gold, not the nuggets found in the California gold rush, the fine gold. Heating and refining the surrounding materials reveal the shiny gold Jesus references. Does life ever heat up on you? Will you consider how God is shaping and forming you the next time you feel like life is going to boil over?
TWO: White clothes so the shame of nakedness may not be revealed
Selling homes, I’ve seen numerous closets. Every shape and size almost unanimously share one characteristic: STUFFED FULL. We want to cover our birthday suits, but few take time to cover their souls through salvation.
Without the new figurative clothes only Jesus can give, we are still covered in sin. No different from my kids getting hosed down after playing in the mud (good times) a bit always remains under nails, between fingers and toes. Together, we can never fully remove the grit. No matter what we do to live as a good people and to right our wrongs, it is impossible for us to clean ourselves; we need the salvation only Jesus can provide. Have you committed your heart to Christ? I once thought I had to pray specific words in a specific way, but Jesus doesn’t care about your words, He cares about your heart. It requires nothing more than you acknowledging that you have messed up, that God loves you and Jesus lived a perfect life, died on a cross for you and you want Him to be Lord of your life.
THREE: Salve for the eyes so you may see
My son and dad are color blind. Actually, my dad is now seeing full color in heaven, but God wants us to see fully. He wants us to see the work He is doing in and around our lives and world. He wants to reveal our sin while He comforts and encourages us with His vision of us (because of our white garments, He sees us as perfect!). He wants to open our eyes to the needs of the world around us so we can pray, sometimes even take action. Will you pray for eyes to see?
Today, please pray for God to reveal areas He cares about that you simply “have a heart for”. If God has a heart for something, He will develop a desire within us.
Friends reading in other countries, I’d love to learn about the areas that display a lukewarm nature in your corner of the world! Will you comment below?
Gold fun facts that left me in awe of God:
No one is completely sure where gold comes from.
Absolutely pure gold is so soft that it can be moulded with the hands.
Very few chemicals can attack gold, so that’s why it keeps it shine even when buried for 1000’s of years.