The Lukewarm Christian
“ I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
- Revelations 3: 15 -22
We all know these verses and we understand that yes, the Word is referring to us. We are lukewarm. We are very much a part of our modern society and want to fit in. It is very easy for us to be wrapped up in the world, chasing after money, possessions, fun, happiness, comfort, satisfaction and security. So much so, that our faith takes a back seat, compromising our lives every day. Our hearts and minds are preoccupied and though we know we have to change, we just continue on. We are stuck.
" I know your deeds...."
Deeds are the manifestation of what is in our heart. The inside coming to the outside. The way we live is how we show what is in our hearts. Deeds are the product of our faith.
"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."- James 2:14-16
As much as we try to shake things up occasionally, like a New Year's resolution after a short while, we run out of steam and resort back to our tepid way of living.
We believe in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and believe in all His teachings, yet we live as if we are not saved and His teachings have barely affected how we live. Many of us count on God's grace and hope we are OK, but following Jesus requires a change of heart and a change in how we live. Not just believing.
Why is being lukewarm such a problem?
When we are hot for God, we are praying, we are listening and we are sharing His Love. His light is able to shine through us into the world.
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lamp-stand and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."-Matthew 5:14-16
When we are cold, God continues to send His angels to beckon and persuade us to turn from our self-centered lives and come to Him.
But when we are lukewarm, He can’t do anything with us. We claim to know God, but our deeds prove otherwise. We have heard everything and we know what we need to do, but then we don't. He speaks to us and we turn a deaf ear. He asks us to do something and we ignore Him. We believe we are saved, yet live like we don't know Him.
We rarely pray and if we do it is usually because we are panicking and in trouble. When good things happen, instead of thanking Him, we take credit for them, and when bad things happen, we blame Him, "WHY ME?"
So many Christians are luke warm because we are only looking at what we can get from God: Salvation and heaven. Our hearts are not focused on God's Kingdom but on our own. We use God only as an insurance policy and hope for His protection, riches and blessings, yet we have no relationship with Him.
For those of us who are LUKEWARM, we are at a place where God is doing all He can, but to no avail, like watering a tiny seedling that refuses to grow. We know all the teachings of God, but can't seem to be taught. Like the fig tree that bears no fruit, we are fruitless.
"Now in the morning, as he returned to the city, he was hungry.
Seeing a fig tree by the road, he came to it, and found nothing on it but leaves. He said to it, "Let there be no fruit from you forever!"
Immediately the fig tree withered away." - Matthew 21:18-22
We think everything is fine and we are saved, yet we are good for nothing.
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." - Matthew 5:13.
Our lukewarm way of living reveals our hypocrisy which in turn convinces non-believers that all Christians are phonies. Our failure to show love and charity keeps the Kingdom of God from growing. Our lack of living in the Spirit stops the movement of God’s love from reaching the world.
Well what does it mean to be HOT for God? Does that mean we have to be extremists and purists?
Well, in the time of Jesus, the extremists and purists were the Pharisees and Sadducees. Their way of living was actually the opposite of what Jesus was all about. That is because their work was a show. Their ways of trying to reach God by following rules, regulations and traditions was worthless to God because their heart was somewhere else. And though they tried to be pure by cleansing and staying away from sin, they didn't come close to being right with God because they used their self-righteous pride to control, manipulate and justify their oppression, blocking people from coming to God. They had no love.
"'The multitude of your sacrifices – what are they to me?' says the Lord. 'I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations – I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow." - Isaiah 1:11-17
‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. ‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.' - Matthew 23: 25-28
In fact, Jesus was drawn to the unclean. The humble. The imperfect. The flawed. The sinful. And Jesus didn't praise the Pharisees way of serving God by trying to be perfect and pure, but rather He showed that the way to serve God was by serving others with love and compassion.
He taught the people to forgive each other, to heal and visit the sick, to love our enemies, to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, treat others as you would want to be treated...all acts to help restore love in the world. This is the way to serve God. This is the way to go from lukewarm to hot.
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” - Matthew 22:36-40
It seems this is what it is ALL about.
So yes, we must be extremists, but extremists for God's love.
When we are filled with God's love, it automatically shines all around.
Want to be Hot for God? Look around you. Look at the loneliness, the neglect, the fear, the hunger, the struggling and you will see what God would have you do for Him. We must work together with God to bring His love and grace to the world. There are so few people who are living for Him. He needs you.
“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” -Luke 10:2a
Instead of chasing after our earthly life (which is a symptom of being lukewarm) Jesus asks us to seek God's treasures: His Wisdom, His Truth, His Goodness and His love.
“So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
There is a wall between God and us, and the only way through is to open the door and meet with Him. He wants a relationship with us. Jesus has been knocking on our door for a long time. It's time to let Him in.
© 2015 Edrick
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