The Bible contains great truth (as it points us to the Truth, Jesus Christ). And as we read God's Word carefully, we need to have our eyes wide open to the ways these truths can come at us.
Some of these truths are encouraging - I think of the many great promises God has kept and will keep for all who follow His Son Jesus Christ. Some of these truths are practically helpful - wisdom on how to live and applications for relationships. But let's be honest - some of the truth contained in the Bible can be scary, because of the implications embedded in certain passages.
Last night I was reading in Revelation and came across a single verse that immediately struck me as scary. Speaking to the church at Laodicea (and to us), Jesus says:
"You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked." (Revelation 3:17)
What's so scary about this verse?
Simply stated, what's so scary about this verse is that the Laodicean's estimation of themselves was THE EXACT OPPOSITE of Christ's estimation of them. Read the verse again and check it out.
By all accounts, the Laodiceans had a lot of things going for them in terms of external "trappings" - they lived in a fairly affluent and self-sufficient city. But the reality is they were in desperate need. And they didn't even know it. That's scary.
It's scary because this reminds us that our view of ourselves isn't the only view that matters. It's scary because external affluence doesn't necessarily equate to internal character and godliness. It's scary because we can deceive ourselves into thinking we're OK when maybe we need certain things addressed in our lives.
In the West, we live in a culture that values self-awareness. We take personality tests (I'm an INTJ) and find our strengths (Input, Learner, Intellection, Achiever, Connectedness). Great emphasis is placed on viewing ourselves accurately. There's wisdom in this. But I wonder if it's easy to neglect the PRIMARY lens by which we should be viewing ourselves - namely, God's opinion of us.
For this to happen, we need all the truth from the Bible to continually shape us. And for this to happen, we need to come to God's Word often, with a posture of humility, learning, and seeking to be formed.
A great way to counter becoming like self-deceived Laodicea in Revelation 3:17 is to internalize the prayer of Psalm 139:23-24:
"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24)
Let the scary potential of becoming Revelation 3:17 drive you to the bold, hopeful invitation of Psalm 139:23-24.
Are there practical ways you would suggest we guard against being self-deceived, like the Laodiceans in Revelation 3:17?
Christian. Husband. Father. Pastor. Learner. Contributor. Reader.