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DO NOT FALL OVER YOUR STRENGTHS! [REVELATION 3:14-22]
Deepak Chopra says about three kinds of aging in his work Ageless Body; Chronological (as per the date of birth), Biological (as per your fitness) and Mental. During this New Year, which is a time for introspection as well as retrospection, I find Rev. 3,14-22 a good text for study.
The book of Revelation belongs to a special type of literature called Apocalypse. Such a book originates normally in a community, which is suppressed by political authorities. Its characteristic features include the symbolism of the book, numerical as well as animal symbolism, severe criticism of the rulers and the eschatological hope. Scholars are of the opinion that the Apocalypse of John was written during the religious persecution of Domitian (95/96 CE).
Indifference and Complacency of the Church of Laodicea:
The city of Laodicea was located in the Lycus valley near Colossae and Hierapolis. It was established by Antiochus II (261-243 BCE) in honor of his beloved wife Laodice in 260 BCE. Later it became a developed city of Phrygia in the Roman Empire. It was on the side of the highway to Pisidian Antioch and it was only 50 to 70 km away from the port cities Ephesus and Smyrna. A lot of Jews stayed here.
Christianity came to this city through Epephras just like in Ephesus and Colossae (Col. 4,13). St. Paul preached here (Col. 2,1) and as per his Epistle to the Colossians he wrote a letter to this Church (Col. 4,16). However, the Apocryphal letter of the Laodiceans is a later work. The Spirit of God makes two comments about the Laodicean Church:
Both these are sins in the eyes of the Spirit of God. Even today, the Churches and individuals have to be cautious of these mistakes. Many people fail in their life because of their indifference and complacency.
Your strengths are the reasons for your failure:
The Spirit of God says that they are the actual weaknesses of the Church of Laodicea. In addition to this he wants to suggest remedial measures to their spiritual maladies. Even though the people of Laodicea say that they are rich, the “gold” they possess is not pure in the eyes of God. That means, all their claims about wealth become a forgery now. In today’s world many people create an atmosphere of prosperity just to impress others. They may be able to misguide their fellow beings, but they can not deceive God, never. The Spirit of God asks the Laodiceans to buy an “ointment” from Him so that they can visualize things beautifully. See what happens to a people who thought they have the best ointments of the world. Similarly, their textile industry is meaningless. God wants to give them a dress to cover their nakedness.
Thus the letter written to the Laodiceans is meaningful for us today. Most often we fall not because of the things which we lack but because of the things which we possess. The same strengths about which we are proud of can lead us to failures. Many Empires fell down due to its own weight; this is true of many individuals too. Let us think for a moment: What are our strengths? Do they dig our tombs?
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