Measures of Spiritual Health

By October 9, 2017 faith No Comments

Get ready, readers. I’ve got a rather controversial opinion to share.

I loved La La Land.

I loved this film so much that I actually argued on the Internet in favor of it. (Well, as much as I argue, anyhow.) What I discovered is that La La Land is divisive. Few people are neutral about it. They either love it, as I do; or they hate it.

It’s odd, isn’t it? The lovers and haters watched the same film, heard the same songs, heard the same dialogue. But the final assessment was completely opposite. Lovers saw one thing; haters saw another.

Such opposing views aren’t just for movies. In all aspects of life, people arrive at varying views. And this is exactly what we see in Revelation 3, as Jesus speaks to the church at Laodicea. The people there think they are all good in life (rich, prosperous, in need of nothing). Jesus sees it quite differently, calling them wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” (v. 17). These two assessments cannot both be accurate… can they?

I wonder if they can. What if the standards by which the assessments are being made are different? That would change the final report. For example, the church at Laodicea may be looking at external measures of success, while Jesus is looking at internal. Both assessments could then be true at the same time.

If this is true, then the real question is which assessment holds more weight, the people’s or Jesus’? Which measure trumps the other?

The people at Laodicea are entrenched in a prosperous society. It’s likely people assessed their spiritual health on the how life was unfolding for them. And since everything was turning up aces, they thought all was good. Sounds like the prosperity gospel, really—we assume that if things are going well for us, then God must be pleased with our lives, inside and out. Such a shallow standard doesn’t hold up, however, because troubles visit even the best of people, and prosperity visits even the worst of us. I think we can safely say the people of Laodicea were using faulty measures in assessing their spiritual selves.

Jesus, being God, has insight that humans do not. He knows what’s in our hearts (John 2:23–25), and He knows what lasts beyond this world (Matthew 6:19–21). It’s probably safe to assume that what Jesus is seeing in the church at Laodicea is more true than the perspective the people hold about themselves.

So it matters greatly what standards we use to measure our spiritual health. The people at Laodicea thought they were healthy, but they were not. They would be wise to take His assessment to heart and make some course corrections.

In terms of this series, zombies aren’t able to rightly assess their spiritual health. They are using measures of this world, just as the people at Laodicea were using. They need help from someone who is not a zombie, someone whose perspective hasn’t been tainted by death. Spiritual zombies need Jesus.


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