Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Richer and Sadder?

Revelation 3:17 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.

I found an article the other day called “Richer and sadder? American antidepressant use soars”. Studies show that the number of Americans using antidepressants has skyrocketed in the last decade. According to the Health United States 2004 report, issued by the National Center for Health Statistics, the use of antidepressant drugs such as Prozac, Paxil, or Zoloft, has nearly tripled among all American adults.

So what’s the deal? Today in America people are bringing in huge incomes, building enormous houses, driving luxury cars and they own almost everything they set their sights on. In fact American’s have so much stuff that they don’t even know what to do with it all. So, why do we have massive numbers of people being diagnosed with depression? They are spiritually bankrupt!

Sadly enough, I have to say that a lot of Christians even fall into this category. There are far too many Christians that are going after the very same things as the rest of the world- Money, position, status, material and the list goes on. In Revelation 3:17 God is speaking to the Laodiceans which are Christians who have turned inward. He is a Christian that says that he has all the world has to offer and he doesn’t need anything more. I believe this is where we are at today.

The word rich that is used in Rev 3:17 means, abounding in material. When we look at our condition, we see a people that have it all materially speaking. But when God looks at us He sees a spiritually deprived people. God says that we are wretched (afflicted), pitiful (miserable), poor (needy), blind (mentally blind) and naked (laid bare). What a pathetic state we are in. Haven’t we had enough?


Anonymous said...

Some of us, Christians included, have not had enough until we hit rock bottom, until we have no other option but to acknowledge our depravity and our need for God. I don't think anyone, Christian or non-Christian, is immune to the sins of pride and self-reliance.

Although this text from Revelation 3 speaks of Christians' fascination with material elements, I also see a parallel with our fascination of other Christians. Various sins can lead to our becoming lukewarm, as the Laodiceans were found guilty of being, and I think one of those sins leading to our becoming lukewarm can be comparing ourselves to others, especially to other Christians.

We compare ourselves to our brothers and sisters in Christ, which often results in envy. This comparing, even though it involves fellow Christians, only leads to pride-- in exalting ourselves or in having a false-humilty or a low self-esteem. We want to be like them, dress like them, drive the cars they drive, live in the houses they live in, partipate in the same activities or organizations that they participate in, and I'll be bold enough to say that we also envy their level of faith.

So, we end up seeking more material elements, sometimes thinking that we will be more spiritual if we mimick other believers who appear in our eyes to be more spiritual than we are, all the while being unaware of our true poverty, nakedness and blindness, just like the Laodiceans. Perhaps we are blinded to the effects of our actions because those we envy, in the above example, are fellow believers and because we think we're gaining spirituality along with the material gain.

We must be willing to push the material things aside and to unplug our spiritual ears so that we can hear Christ knocking on our hearts' doors and so that we can respond with repentant, humble and obedient hearts. The rich reward of a covenant relationship with Christ awaits!