Most of you know that Marti is, shall we say, “under the weather” right now. Yesterday I said she had a sinus infection; that was before the doctor said the more accurate diagnosis would be pneumonia. Last night she was feeling a lot better, however, but I now think that was more a factor of the medicine the doctor recommended that for some reason really kicked in around ten o’clock, than any vast improvement. The reason I know this is that she was actually excited about watching the end of an extra-inning Angels game versus the New York Yankees. When she wanted to know why they couldn’t put Mike Trout back up again instead of the lesser talented guy who was up there, I knew something was wrong. She was showering me with questions about what was happening on the field, and when I wanted to shut the game off after 13 innings she went, “Not on your life.” For someone who thinks watching baseball is like watching paint dry, this was surely suspicious behavior.
Unfortunately, her mind continued to keep her up all night long and she finally fell asleep this morning. My comment yesterday about slipping out Catches without her input was entirely facetious, and the only way I can get this one out to you without her OK is because she wrote it. It’s really directed at all of us about what it takes to get out of those comfort zones with which we seek to pamper ourselves.
by Marti Fischer
One of the more important messages for us today as believers can be found in the words of Jesus to the seven churches that take up the first few chapters of the book of Revelation. They are words of warning and instruction.
One of the churches, the one in Laodicea, Jesus describes as being “warm,” meaning comfortable — a comfortable state of mind with false securities. And Jesus warns that since these believers are neither hot nor cold, He will “spew” them out of His mouth. What a harsh description of rejection and abandonment.
Jesus goes on to explain why He says this. He is basically saying this body thinks it doesn’t need Him. They are doing just find on their own. These people are lukewarm and very comfortable in their walk with the Lord. They have food to eat, places to stay, and clothes to wear. Life is good. And Jesus says that their thinking is a lie. He says the truth is that these people are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. They are people who think they are doing good in their own lives and for the Lord. Jesus says they have it all backwards.
Jesus goes on to make a few recommendations for these Laodicean believers: “I counsel you to be gold tried in the fire.” And then He offers them a new outfit. They will no longer be living in the shame of their nakedness … and then, He says, they will be able to see.
I thought to myself, “Hurray! At last. Jesus is encouraging prosperity thinking. I am going to be gold. I always wanted to believe in prosperity. I love pretty things. Too bad for me — He is not talking about having the financial means to have what it takes to buy lots of gold. He is talking about gold as referenced in 1 Peter 1:7 — a faith being more precious than gold that is tried with fire. Jesus is telling us He wants to make our faith perfect – tried by the fire of trials – the faith that is far more precious than gold. For this reason, He warns us not to seek what makes us comfortable. Rather He suggests that those He loves He corrects and causes suffering; anything to make us pursue Him and His desire to purify our faith. He will do just about anything to get us out of our comfort zone.
Jesus then tells us that He is at the door knocking (He’s been there all along), and if we open the door, he will come in and sit down to dinner with us. You might remember He did this with the disciples and at that dinner he also told the disciples that they, too, would indeed drink from His cup — the cup of suffering and death Jesus was ordained to drink from. Soon thereafter, Jesus was begging the Father to take that very cup from Him, “but either way your will not mine be done.” This is a beautiful demonstration of Jesus relating to the most horrific moments in our lives, when we ask the Lord to remove us from a situation and deliver us from having to walk through troubles and pain, and instead, He asks to submit to His will and not the will we would prefer to hold so closely to our chest. His will is to follow Jesus Christ, which is the complete opposite of our comfort driven will.
He ends this message by delivering a promise to those in this church who “overcome” comfort to follow His will. The promise is knowing Him and believing with the kind of evidence that moves mountains in not only our lives but in the lives of many others … and there’s nothing comfortable about that.
So like the Laodiceans, Jesus wants us to wake up. We are insisting on making ourselves comfortable and warm (the kind of warm that is like a dog peeing on your leg). We are not hot or even cold.
We have many Catch Citizens who are affected and suffering from very difficult circumstances that are causing their hearts to cry out to God. They do not know why. Did they do something wrong? They are seeking His presence, wanting to receive His revelation and understand what on earth He is up to.
And for those of us Laodiceans who are stepping out of our places of comfort on a daily basis, they are asking us to pray with them as we both seek His strength, His truth — the truth that can only be known when He opens our eyes and causes us to surrender to Him and all of His ways that our minds can’t grasp. No longer warm, we are very hot indeed.