DO YOU critically analyse the content of testimonies we give at church meetings these days? Many of us proudly talk about our cars, houses, investments and breakthroughs. Indeed, we must thank God for His abundant material blessings. Testimony in respect of what God has done is a major theme in Christianity.
However, Christians do not walk by sight. True children of God are not moved by what they see. This is because there is the other side of life which is very important than the side that is seen. We see the physical prosperity of our lives, but find it difficult to see the spiritual prosperity of our lives.
Christians’ penchant for making loud noises about their wealth and riches did not start today. There was a particular church in the days of the Foundational Apostles that was deceived by their abundant material riches to boast, which nearly cost them their salvation. It was the church in Laodicea, one of the seven churches in Asia Minor.
Jesus Christ heard of how they boasted about their wealth, and He was saddened by it. Consequently, the Lord spoke to the apostle John to write a letter to reprove them of their backsliding and for being in a tepid state. Below are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Church:
“For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realising that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3: 17- 19).
Our Lord visited His church in Laodicea and heard them boasting about their material wealth and how they lacked nothing. Now, it was not Jesus Christ who boasted about their successes, but the Laodicean Christians themselves boasted.
Sadly, however, they did not know their spiritual poverty and pride. Jesus Christ listened to them with pain, knowing that they had missed it. Jesus Christ sees many churches in Ghana today in the same situation the Laodicean church found itself in. Before we testify or tell about how prosperous we are in material things, we must first examine the abundance of our spiritual riches.
There are heavenly riches which Christ wants His children to greatly possess. He calls them true riches. If a Christian prospers in material riches and boasts in them than spiritual riches, Jesus Christ calls him poor, pitiable, wretched and naked.
What is the Lord Jesus Christ talking about here? Our Lord is saying here that houses, cars, clothing, money and other material things we have are not important than spiritual riches. Of course, the aforementioned are relevant things we need for our physical life, but our Saviour, who knows all things, speaks about the most important riches His true followers must strive for.
From the above scripture, the Lord charges the Church to seek from Him gold refined by fire. This gold is faith (1 Peter 1: 7). Faith is a spiritual resource which is precious in the sight of God. It is written in James 2: 5 that God chooses the poor in the world and makes them rich in faith. Jesus also wants the Church to practise righteousness which serves as a garment that covers spiritual nakedness and shame.
A person may be wealthy and have expensive wardrobe, and yet be naked spiritually. When you have cars, mansions and money, but lack genuine faith, love and righteousness, Jesus says you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked. The reason is that spiritually you are zero, and such a person can easily be destroyed by Satan and his demons. It is best to have both physical and spiritual riches.
Christ Jesus cautions us to repent and be restored to righteousness, holiness, purity, faith, gentleness, meekness and blamelessness, which Adam and Eve possessed from the very beginning, but were corrupted by Lucifer.
Christ came purposefully to die a painful death for man in order to restore him to the condition in which he was before the fall. This is the spirit of Christianity. Christians, therefore, ought not to see and walk as the people of the world do.
“This is what the LORD says, “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 9: 23- 24, NIV)
Christians are called to be rich spiritually far above material riches. Christians should be known for their spiritual riches and not for their material riches. Now, are we really rich the way Christ Jesus wants us to be? How different are we from the Laodicean Church? Are our Pastors not in the state of stupor as the angel of the Laodicean church was?