We should HAVE the RIGHT PERSPECTIVE in LIFE: "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-- I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see." (Rev. 3:17-18)
The church in Laodicea was the last of the seven churches that the Lord Jesus Christ had a message to send through Apostle John (see Rev. 1:11). The city of Laodicea lay about forty miles southeast of Philadelphia and about ninety miles east of Ephesus. Jesus Christ sent this message to shake the Laodicean Christians out of their self-sufficient complacency and to exhort them to sacrifice for higher spiritual goals. Unlike the other churches, the Laodicean church received no commendation from God, a sad prognosis of the spiritual decay in this church. In fact, God desired these Christian believers to have the right perspective in life!
Laodicea had become an extremely wealthy city under the Romans, and it is not surprising that every believer had the following self-perspective: “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing” (v. 17). Laodicea was famous for its wealth, its bankers, its medical school, its popular eye salve, and its textile industry. When this city was destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 61, the Laodiceans took a posture of self-sufficiency by refusing aid from Rome for rebuilding. In doing so, they continued a long tradition of self-sufficiency that was associated with their wealth. They had conveniently forgotten God’s Word that clearly stated: "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God" (2 Cor. 3:5)
Moreover, the Laodicean church was spiritually self-deluded. Because the church was wealthy it assumed that it had need of nothing, when in actuality, it was spiritually impoverished, and was characterized by pride, ignorance, self-sufficiency, and complacency. The church believed that because it had expensive garments it was well-clothed, when it was really spiritually naked. It believed that physical sight indicated the ability to see spiritually, when it was actually blind to spiritual realities. Thus, this church had no spiritual value (gold), virtue (white raiment), or vision (eye salve). When God looked at the people of the Laodicean church, they were poor, blind, and naked. This is the reason that God urges the Laodiceans to repent of their lack of genuine faith, spiritual understanding and the right perspective of life. True wealth is found only in God’s grace!
Having the right perspective in life involves practicing practical righteousness in everyday life. To meet our threefold need (poverty, nakedness, and blindness), we should buy for free, gold (which speaks of divine righteousness), white raiment (which denote practical righteousness), and eye salve (which points to spiritual discernment). We should gain a true spiritual vision through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual riches are more important than physical wealth and are worth making great sacrifices to obtain!
Let us understand that forgiveness of our sins and genuine purity in our lives only comes through Jesus Christ (see 1 John 1:9). Jesus calls us to be fully separated from the world’s value system and to be totally committed to Him. We have to find the spiritual power source in our lives in Christ alone, and gauge success by the measuring rod of God, rather than by the world’s social and financial standards. When we understand God’s view from the eternal, our present comes into the right perspective. Today and always, let’s aim towards having this right perspective in life!
"Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live" (Isaiah 55:1-3)