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” (Rev. 3:18, NLT).
This verse came into my spirit one morning recently as I was remembering what I had dreamed the night before. In the dream, my eye was red and clearly had something wrong with it. A prominent minister approached me with urgency, to pray for me. When she did, I felt utterly enveloped in love and collapsed under the power of God. When I came back to consciousness (in the dream), my eye was completely healed.
As I was journaling this dream, I sensed it was not only for me, but also for you. Holy Spirit began to give me a word to share with you. I opened up the book of Revelation to the passage above, and beautiful truth began to stir in my heart.
Before I jump into the meaning of the dream, let’s take a look at the Scripture He highlighted in conjunction with it. The preceding verse is important as well: “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” (v. 17). Ouch, right? Sometimes, though, we need the Lord to be lovingly blunt with us.
The first thing Jesus does for us here is identify three reasons that the Laodicean church is in a state of spiritual wretchedness and misery (by extension, this sometimes applies to us too):
- Thinking they are wealthy, they are poor.
- Thinking they lack nothing, they are naked.
- Thinking they already have everything desirable, they are blind.
- Purified gold.
- White garments.
- Eye salve/ointment.
Each one is symbolic of something that we desperately need from Him. We will examine them more closely, one by one. But first, we need to make sure and grasp what He means by instructing us to “buy” them from Him.
Oftentimes, we can understand one Scripture by cross-referencing another, related passage. In this case, Isaiah 55:1 provides us the insight we need: “The Lord says, ‘All you who are thirsty, come and drink. Those of you who do not have money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost” (NCV, bold emphasis mine).
Under the terms of this world’s economy, a purchase is an exchange of merchandise or services for money. The economy of the Kingdom of Heaven works in an entirely different way. God does not mean that we are to put an order in for celestial goods that we must pay Him for. No; rather, He is inviting us into a different kind of exchange. We surrender to Him our poverty, and He gives us riches. We surrender to Him our nakedness, and He clothes us lavishly. We surrender to Him our blindness, and He bestows on us eyes that can see. His eternal nature means that He has infinite resources at His disposal. He delights to lavish them all on us, all at His own expense!
So, reflecting His openhanded, bighearted, munificent generosity, this passage continues: “Why spend your money on something that is not real food? Why work for something that doesn't really satisfy you? Listen closely to me, and you will eat what is good; your soul will enjoy the rich food that satisfies. Come to me and listen; listen to me so you may live” (vv. 2-3).
Daddy wants us to lean into Him and listen for what will really make us come alive. As we do so, He invites us to surrender our shortages and deficiencies to Him, that in exchange, He may provide abundantly for the needs of our spirits.
What, then, are the three aspects of lack that He is pointing to in His letter to the Laodicean church? What do each of them mean?
“So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich.” (Rev. 3:18, NLT).
Tragically, there are Christians who take laps around the same spiritual desert for forty years. They never cross over into the fullness, the milk and honey, the spiritual riches, that God longs to bring them into. This is because they have decided to just “make do.” They have allowed passivity and inertia to take over their lives.
Many times we, too, are like the Laodiceans. We tell ourselves that we are “just fine” and settle for the status quo of our physical comfort. We’ve got our Netflix and our couch and our smartphone and our pizza. What else could we need? Jesus kindly but firmly looks into our eyes and tells us that we are poor. He has wealth for us that we have not even begun to imagine, if we would allow Him to light a fire in our spirits for the pursuit of His presence.
Gold that has been purified in the fire represents faith. When we go through adversity and cling to God for the duration, He goes to work deep in the core of us, strengthening our character and our trust in Him. “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold” (1 Peter 1:7, NLT).
Adversity is inevitable in this life. On the one hand, it is entirely possible to survive hardship and only become hardened, bitter, and cynical as a result. On the other, adversity can instead become a tool that brings forth gold, if we remain in a posture of surrender to the Lord – and keep Him as the central passion of our existence. If we decide to truly yield to the purifying process that God desires to orchestrate in our lives, the end result will be stunning.
Job, of all people, understood this vital principle. This utterance burst from his soul in the midst of wracking pain: “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10, NIV).
Real faith, purified faith, seasoned faith, strengthened faith, is immeasurably more precious than gold. Jesus offers this to us today. “Buy gold from Me. Give up your poverty and submit yourself to My brilliant, beautiful, sanctifying work in the depths of your heart. Are you tired of just making do with physical comfort while your spirit languishes? Are you weary of the same monotonous lap in the wilderness over and over? Come after Me with all that you are! I have such magnificent, masterfully laid plans for you as we walk hand in hand together through this life! Buy gold from Me. Then you will be rich!”
“Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness...” (Rev. 3:18, NLT).
The second Laodicean issue Jesus addressed was nakedness. Have you ever had a dream where you found yourself in public and suddenly realized your clothes were gone? How did that feel? Pretty awful, right?
That’s what this passage is about. Being naked and ashamed is symbolic of feeling exposed, vulnerable and full of shame – specifically here, about our sins. Daddy has a breathtaking provision to offer us for this heartbreaking problem. The white garments in this Scripture represent the lavish gift of righteousness with which He covers our spiritual nakedness.
When Jesus says that He covers our moral failures, this does not mean that He is concealing them or pretending they are not there. Quite the contrary; it means He is forgiving them and washing them completely away. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Ps. 32:1, RSV). See the parallelism there? Covered sin is forgiven sin. He no longer counts it against you! The Lamb of God has taken away your sins. He has erased them for all of eternity.
White garments. Think on that. Biblically, the color white represents holiness. The blood of Jesus purifies us through and through from the stains of our transgressions. He cleanses us so thoroughly that He leaves our spirits dazzingly clean… as blindingly white as freshly fallen snow lit up by the rays of the noonday sun (Is. 1:18).
“He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isa. 61:10, NKJV). Jesus has ornate, sumptuous garments of salvation with which to array us. Under the luxurious covering of His imputed righteousness, we become confident and secure.
These, too, Jesus holds forth to us in this moment. “Buy white garments from Me,” He says, His voice thick with longing for our freedom. “Draw near to Me and allow Me to cover you, to clothe you. Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow. When I wrap you with these extravagant, radiant, glorious robes, your shame will be gone forever!”
“I counsel you to buy from me… salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see” (Rev. 3:18, ESV).
Here we have the third and final commodity King Jesus is offering to “sell” to us, without money and without cost. Just as He longs to lavish us with golden faith to replace our poverty, and magnificent white robes to cover our shame, He also deeply desires to transform our blindness into spiritual sight.
I have a dear friend who suffered tragic vision loss as a result of a terrible accident at work. He still has his peripheral fields of sight, but his central vision is completely gone. I have been so struck by his ability to navigate physically in spite of his handicap. Oftentimes, we are like that spiritually. We are missing major pieces of our vision, and have learned to push through life and survive without them.
Someone once sent me a video of a baby boy receiving some very needed glasses. He had severe vision issues and hadn’t really been able to see his mother before that moment. The way his face lights up in innocent, unabashed joy when he sets eyes on her for the first time… words just don’t do it justice. I laughed and teared up and replayed it I don’t know how many times.
|Screengrab Via YouTube|
That’s what Daddy wants for us. No parent has ever gazed with such tenderness on their child as He does on us. He yearns for us to be able to truly perceive the oceans of love in His eyes as He looks into our faces. It hurts His heart when we miss out on the unspeakable riches that come when the eyes of our heart can truly see Him.
This is where my dream comes in. My dream self had a serious vision problem and needed restoration. How did God choose to provide the needed healing? By completely wrapping me up in His love. His love was so powerful, so overwhelming, that it literally swept me off my feet. It overcame me. When He finished His indescribably profound work, I could see again.
This is how He heals our spiritual eyes; by enveloping us in His love. Our verse from Revelation uses the word “anoint.” That is exactly what He does for us. He imparts His anointing to our eyes. He transmits restoration to them through the raw power of His devotion. Eye salve is anointing. It’s the revelation of His love.
When does He apply this salve to our eyes? The answer lies in the same passage, two verses later: “Look! I have been standing at the door, and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me” (v. 20, TLB).
We receive healing for the eyes of our heart when we open the door to Jesus. All day long, every day, He woos us. He knocks. He yearns. He initiates. He pursues. He invites. When the moment comes that we open to Him, He comes in. He wraps us up in His arms, and indescribably rich, profound, healing fellowship begins.
Today, lean into the passionate tones of His voice as He beckons to you, “Come, precious child, Heaven’s store is open! Trade in your poverty at My counter for wealth that truly satisfies. Trade in your emptiness for life that is truly life. Leave your sin and your shame here with Me and take home resplendent white robes! And, dear one, buy salve from Me. I long to heal your vision so you can look into My face. I want your eyes to drink in all the infinite depths of My love for you. Do you hear My heart calling to you? I yearn to envelope you in My embrace! Here I am, knocking!"
Will you open to Him?
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