What’s Your Diagnosis?
I am not much for doctors. Nothing personal, I just don’t like being given the bad news that I need to lose a few pounds or that my cholesterol is a bit too high. Truthfully, it’s not them; it’s me. I like salami and cheese too much. Recently, I had a strange rash on my thigh and didn’t really want to go to the doctor. I was afraid of a negative diagnosis. I am one those people who when I have a headache, it’s a brain tumor. When I have to use the bathroom too much, I must have diabetes. Finally, I garnered the courage to go see my physician. I found out the my rash was shingles and was able to get the treatment I needed to overcome this painful problem.
When it comes to our spiritual health, I don’t think we like going to the Great Physician either. Our text this past Sunday was Revelation 3:14-22 where Christ confronts the Church in Laodicea. Interestingly, in this letter from Christ to the Church, he used metaphors that would resonate with the people. For instance, there was no natural water supply for the city so it was piped in on open canals from some hot springs. By the time the water reached the city, it was lukewarm. Christ said, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16).
Two other interesting contextual connections relate to two important industries in Laodicea. They were famous for black wool that originated there. It was very expensive and the garments made from it were very costly. Also, there was a Temple to Aesculapius, the god of healing. They manufactured an eye ointment and powder used throughout the Mediterranean area. Using these metaphors, the Great Physician said, “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” (Revelation 3:18).
Following the diagnosis, the Great Physician exhorts the Church there to be zealous and repent because he only rebukes those whom he loves (Revelation 3:19). The Church thought they were rich and were self-satisfied. Christ wanted them to see their need for treatment and respond. The the Good Doctor gave that famous invitation, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20).
The question I posed to the congregation was, “What’s your diagnosis? What would the Great Physician say about your spiritual health?” Are we self-satisfied thinking we don’t need anything? Are we thinking that we are clothed and healthy, yet we’re naked, miserable, poor, and blind? I know in my life I need a new work of the Spirit of God. I am on a lifetime treatment plan that requires daily doses of the Bible and prayer to maintain me in peak spiritual health. In addition, I need frequent doses of fellowship and the breaking of bread with my brothers and sisters in Christ to strengthen me as well (Acts 2:42). How about you? Christ is knocking on the door; let’s let him and allow him open access to all of your life.