Living In Laodicea

LaodiceeBack in my younger years one of my favorite singers, Steve Camp (who banned me from his blog some years ago—but that’s a different story, though I’m happy to announce, I just posted a comment and apparently the ban has been lifted!), put out an album called Fire and Ice. One of the songs he included was “Living in Laodicea.” In particular, the chorus was a challenge to me:

For I’ve been living in Laodicea
And the fire that once burned bright, I’ve let it grow dim
And the very Word I swore that I would die for all has been forgotten
As the world’s become my friend

It’s scary to think of the world becoming a friend. James says, friendship with the world is hostility toward God! The King James word is “enmity,” a term that rightly pictures opposing sides. That’s an accurate picture of living in Laodicea.

And yet, the message from Jesus to the church in Laodicea starts with a metaphor that seems to say God wants them to either be for Him or against Him but no standing in the middle. Happily, my former pastor, Dale Burke, explained a little about the cultural context.

Laodicea was located far from fresh water that would be cold coming from mountain streams. Their imported water instead gave them tepid water, not hot like the water in the nearby hot springs and not cold like the mountain runoff. Their water was not good for what you needed cold water for and it was not good for what you needed hot water for. It was nauseously lukewarm.

The contrast would be between usable water and not usable water. The Christians in Laodecia had become “not usable” for the things of God.

How so? Primarily because of self-sufficiency. They believed they had what they needed and did not realize how lacking they were, how much they needed God. They were rich, apparently, and trusted in their wealth.

Christ lays it on the line, though. Their condition was far from OK. They were destitute spiritually, they were naked—without the robe of righteousness—and blind.

The answer to their conditions was simple. They needed to go to Christ to cover their nakedness and to put salve on their blind eyes.

Christ concluded His specific admonition to them, with one of the best passages:

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. (Rev. 3:19-20)

How kind of Him to clarify that He loved them, that it was because of His love He was saying pointed, hurtful things to them. How clear He was that He wanted relationship with them.

And isn’t it interesting that the “behold I stand at the door and knock” picture which we so often see associated with Christ making an appeal to an unbeliever, actually is His appeal delivered to believers in need of repentance.

Once again I find the promised reward for the overcomers to be astounding. This time Christ says, those who overcome will sit on His throne beside Him, even as He sat with His Father on His throne.

That’s too hard for me to wrap my head around. As if it isn’t enough for Him to give us a robe and a new name and to bring us before the Father and His angels. Now we’re, like, with Him. Really with Him.

I don’t know how it all works. But I do know, none of it will happen without repentance. And that’s why persists and pursues us. He is an unrelenting God. Praise His Name!

Published in: on August 7, 2014 at 6:46 pm  Comments (2)  
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  1. I once heard Him described as the “Hound of Heaven.” And speaking of hounds, sister Rebecca, I’m going to hound you to hear the Camp story. Come on, throw us a bone! Smile.


    • Yes, Russ. There’s a poem that used that image of God as the Hound of Heaven. I think I used it here on my blog before. Yes, I found it—“Peace Child And The Hound Of Heaven.”

      As to my being banned by Steve Camp, it’s not much of a story. Back when the movie End of the Spear came out, Steve Camp took a stand against it because they hired a gay actor to play the lead. For various reasons, I disagreed with him and said so. We went back and forth some. He seemed to make an inference about me and my position when he learned I was a fantasy writer. So I wrote a little story about a singer who was writing songs to point people to God, but he ran into opposition because a church lady was against them (I forget what reason I gave). I ended the story in a Nathan-like revelation: Steve, you’re that church lady, or something similar. Got banned. I was a little stunned, but some others I showed the story to said, yep, I see why he banned you.

      But my comment is still up (ironically I disagreed once again with a post that is holding essentially the same principle–Christian ministries ought not be “unequally yoked.” I’d actually like to explore that with him some, but I don’t want to push my luck and no one responded to my comment, so I think I’ll just let it lie.



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