Revelation: Church of Laodicea, God Disciplines Those He Loves | June 11, 2023
I don’t love discipline. It means I’m about to do something hard. And I’d rather stay on my couch watching Netflix. What gets me off my couch is not the hard, and certainly not the pain that might be involved. It’s the vision and hope for what the discipline will do for me. If I eat right and exercise, I’ll be healthier. If I study or seek counsel, I’ll be smarter and wiser. If I clean, my house will be more functional. If I go to work, I’ll have income to provide for my family. If I obey God’s commands, I will thrive, and His kingdom will grow.
Revelation 3:19-20 ESV
19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
The Laodiceans had been blind to their own indifferent spirituality. They had apparently listened to their worldly affluence rather than Christ and had thought material success meant they were right with God (a mistaken theology that paralleled some aspects of ancient Jewish thinking and continues today). Their enthusiasm needed to change focus from self to God, and the only way to do so was to repent.1
Hebrews 12:5-11 ESV
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
The next time we are tempted to give in to comfort instead of our convictions, pray for God’s wisdom and strength, asking for His clear vision and inspiration to run your race.
1Osborne, G. R. (2002). Revelation (p. 212). Baker Academic.