“You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.” Revelation 3:17-19
Their evaluation of themselves is based on earthly standards of measurement. Many people, today, believe that if they are financially secure then God must be pleased with them. They see their wealth as a testimony, acquired because of their faithfulness to Him. This is not necessarily so.
The church at Laodicea with their unconscious need was lulled into false contentment by their temporal sufficiency. Spiritually they were in a wretched state but did not realize it. Without the real joy of the Lord, they were miserable in spite of their temporal wealth. They were poor because they were without real and eternal possessions and were lacking the eye of faith that could ascertain the true riches which endure forever. They were blind to things which could be seen only by spiritual sight, and they were naked of spiritual clothing, the righteousness which comes from God, even though they were clothed with rich garments of silk and wool. The Laodicea’s are typical of the modern world, which revels in that which the natural eye can see but is untouched by the gospel and does not see beyond the veil of the material to the unseen and real eternal spiritual riches. Fire removes impurities. God wants to remove all those things in our lives that are impure or in conflict with His character.
It is significant that the final exhortation, to the congregations, has to do with vision. We need to see things clearly, from God’s perspective. God sets things in order. We need to ask Him to reprove and discipline us so that we can change and become pleasing to Him. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalms 139:23-24)