In David Reagan’s book, “Wrath and Glory,” he points out that the church of today is represented by the church of Laodicea in the book of Revelation; a church that is represented by the words, “I am rich, and I have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.” But Jesus says to that church, “You are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” (Rev3:17)
Most theologians seem to agree with this interpretation; that the church of Laodicea represents the church today.
So then, why is it that Christians rarely seem to think that this represents their church? As proof, they may point to the pastor’s preaching, the bible studies, the kid’s programs, the music team’s awesome talent and the missionaries their church supports as proof of spiritual vitality. If pressed regarding who these scriptures represent they may defensively “point” to that church that they used to attend or some other church or denomination that they have heard stories about.
Interesting, how through these scriptures, Jesus always seems to be talking about some other church. I wonder if we really even understand what Jesus is referring to when he speaks of spiritual wretchedness, misery, poorness, blindness and nakedness?
Will we dare to ask Him?
Shame and fear caused Adam and Eve to hide from God’s presence after they sinned: He [Adam] answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Genesis 3:10).
Prideful self-determination will always lead to shame. And shame will always lead to fear.
Pride is self-centered. But persistent shame can also be self-centered.
Long-lasting shame often legitimizes its self-centered focus by promoting self’s victim status. Thus; just like pride, its central focus is self.
Pride promotes self. Shame demotes self. But, both are increases to self-centeredness. To demote self is not to decrease self. It is simply a different, though negative, self-centered view of self.
(Romans 7:5, CEB)
“When we were self-centered, the sinful passions aroused through the law were at work in all the parts of our body, so that we bore fruit for death.”
Pride is an “alternative god” designer. It is the most common attribute of character relied upon by man for the fashioning of other gods.
Pride caused the Israelites to reject God’s institution of judges in favor of a king to represent them as a nation. They wanted to be “like” the other nations around them. God told Samuel, “ …it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you” (1 Samuel 8:7-8).
Pride is not patient, it is not kind. It does envy, it does boast; for it is – pride. It is rude, it is self-seeking, it is easily angered, and it keeps records of all wrongs. Pride rejoices in evil and avoids the truth. It protects for selfish reasons, it cannot afford to trust, it is its own hope, and it perseveres only for personal gain.
Compare to “love” in 1 Cor. 13:4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
The Shame Shield
Shame resides in the relative safety of relational isolation. By avoiding intimate relationships, shame shields a person from the fear of further rejection. But, by avoiding intimate relationship it can also shield that person from apprehending the healing power of God’s unconditional love.
Fear-filled feelings of personal inadequacy are based on lies that we believe. They bring shame to our hearts and hinder us from truly knowing God’s love.
1Jn 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
One of the most important issues in the midst of our daily lives is what we really believe about God’s integrity and dependability. Do we trust that He, simultaneously, has both His and our best interests in mind?
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
If so, we will be able to be thankful despite our circumstances and experience an inner peace that is beyond human understanding.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
If not, we will commonly experience fear, anxiety and resentment about the sufferings and disappointments we must endure.