Ashville, NC (February 11, 2020)
Marketdata calculates that Americans spend $9.9 billion in the self-growth market and that by 2022, that number will increase to $13.2 billion. Author and speaker Leigh Young believes people can save a lot of money on self-improvement by simply reading seven letters that are included in the Bible. In her new book, Lessons from the Letters: Living the Abundant Life, Young explains why letters written specifically to churches found in the Book of Revelation are still relevant to believers today.
“Jesus analyzed seven groups of believers and wrote to them to exhort and encourage them,” says Young. “Those new Christians were pioneers of our faith. They were people who were making a great effort to follow the Lord in a difficult environment. With His omniscient vision, Christ pointed out their strengths and their weaknesses. Now, the torch is passed to us. It is our turn. We are now the Christians trying to live like Christ in an often ungodly environment. Christ is showing us the way to the abundant life through these letters.”
Young says understanding the context of the letters is important, and her research of each of the cities and their corresponding cultures at the time the letters were written helps the reader gain valuable insights into the meaning of the scriptures.
“During the time when the letters were written, the Laodicean Research University invented and marketed a wonder drug—eye salve,” says Young. “They sent this miracle eye medication throughout the Roman Empire. Yet, Jesus called them blind. Another celebrated commodity of Laodicea was black wool. Because dyed cloth was expensive, black clothing was highly coveted. The Laodicean black sheep supplied black wool allowing the merchants to sell the raw wool, black cloth, and garments made from this prized cloth. Jesus refers to the citizens of Laodicea as naked, not well-dressed, as they saw themselves. We would miss this head knowledge if we did not delve into the culture of this city. But more importantly than impacting our head, this can impact our heart. What areas of our life are we self-sufficient and do not need God?”
Young says these letters, written over 2000 years ago, should be seen as a source of encouragement to Christians in today’s culture.
“These seven churches were located in cities ruled by Rome. The empire did not separate church and state. The residents of these cities were supposed to worship the multitude of mythological gods and the emperor. The Christians who refused to bow down to these gods were considered atheists and traitors. Today, we often feel overcome by the amount of pornography, violence, discord in government, and hatred. The original seven churches in Asia Minor faced these same issues. In some aspects, the environment was worse than ours today. However, they overcame. They lived for Christ in a world that often hated His way. This realization gives me great hope.”