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Unsubscribed – Subtractions

The root problem for the church of Laodicea was that they had no need for God. They were blessed with everything they wanted in this life, and they needed nothing from Him.

They were so full of the world, they had no spiritual hunger.

I know you well—you are neither hot nor cold; I wish you were one or the other! But since you are merely lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth!  “You say, ‘I am rich, with everything I want; I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that spiritually you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.

My advice to you is to buy pure gold from me, gold purified by fire—only then will you truly be rich. And to purchase from me white garments, clean and pure, so you won’t be naked and ashamed; and to get medicine from me to heal your eyes and give you back your sight. I continually discipline and punish everyone I love; so I must punish you unless you turn from your indifference and become enthusiastic about the things of God. 

Revelation 3:15-19 TLB

As I said last post, one of the four soils Jesus mentioned in the parable of the farmer was that the Word of God was choked out (or crowded out) by the worries of this life.

“But all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.” Mark 4:19 NLT

Every time we make a decision that pushes God further away from us, the Devil tightens the choke hold he has us in. As long as he has a choke hold on us, the Word cannot penetrate our lives. If the Word cannot enter our hearts and our lives to fall on good ground, we end up becoming lukewarm and, ultimately, we are lost.

Guzik writes in his commentary, “The church at Laodicea lacked a sense spiritual poverty. They looked at their spiritual condition and said ‘rich.’ Thy looked again and said ‘wealthy.’ They looked a third time and said, ‘We have need of nothing.’ They were the opposite of blessed are the poor in spirit Jesus spoke of in Matthew 5:3.”

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

Spurgeon wrote, “Not what I have, but what I have NOT, is the first point of contact, between my soul and God.” 

Hunger is based on need.

In this verse, Jesus is saying, “Happy or blessed are those that have a need in their spirit.” 

If you don’t need anything, you are not hungry for anything. Being full and satisfied in this life, not hungry for more of God, is a dangerous place to live. 

This was the downfall of the church of Laodicea. They were so rich in material things, they were spiritually bankrupt.

Having stuff is okay. Having so much stuff that it creates a lukewarmness in your relationship with God is not ok.

Just because things in this life get subtracted from us sometimes, that doesn’t mean that God is not good. If we allow Him to work in us, we have to trust His math. All math has to be accepted.

We can’t just worship the God of addition and multiplication. We also need to worship the God of subtraction, knowing that He is at work!

Let me tell you how much God loves us. If we will allow Him to, he will minus out what will hurt us and add to us what will help us. 

There is not one character in the Word of God that did not go through struggles. They were not exempt from subtractions.  

Not everything went as planned for Moses with Pharoah, it took 10 plagues.

But it all went as planned for God.

Abraham and Sarah thought if God had promised them a son and their descendants would be as numerous as the start that Sarah would be a baby making machine. It did not go as “they” planned.

But it all went as planned for God.

Joseph thought his dream as a teenager would propel him to its fulfillment in a short period of time. However, a lot of subtraction had to happen before the multiplication. Pits. Deceits. Jail. It did not play out exactly how Joseph planned.

But it all went as planned for God.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

God’s expected end for you and me happens through a process and it takes time. Over that process of time, His goal is to create a life for us that is less about the temporary and more focused on the eternal. 

Havner wrote, “The cause of Christ has been hurt more by Sunday-morning bench-warmers who pretend to love Christ, who call Him Lord but DO NOT His commands…”

My prayer is that we would unsubscribe from anything that would cause us to be bench warmers. My prayer is that we would remember that God is working, even when we don’t see it. If we unsubscribe from the cares of this world, we open ourselves up for Him to work in our lives. He has plans bigger than what we can even imagine. 

Let’s unsubscribe from some things today. 

 

Kent Elliott

Senior Pastor | Faith Tabernacle | Manchester, CT

Sr Pastor at Faith Tabernacle / President & Lead Consultant, FAITHWORKS Image Consulting. Husband to Crystal & father to Kaylea, Johnny (SIL) & Chase.

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