WHY DID JESUS SPEAK SO STRONGLY AGAINST LUKEWARM FAITH?

To this day, I remember the message that brought me to Christ. The message was so strong that it still brings tears to my eyes because of the reverence and urgency in the speakers delivery…”What if Jesus were to come RIGHT NOW? Would you be ready?” Honestly, I felt so unworthy of God’s omnipresent love that I couldn’t even fathom that I, a lowly human being, could be forgiven of my sins through confession that Jesus is the Son of God and by being baptized into the watery grave. I have been a Christian for 11 years and I haven’t looked back.

It has not always been easy. Attending college and the need to fit in –  to surrounding myself with people who very likely did not have my best interest at heart… I became victim of being a lukewarm Christian. Because of my self-righteous complacency, my stubbornness and wanting to do things the “Kiara way.”

Over the years, I have realized how important having a relationship with God was. Not only that, but the guy that I would marry needed to have the same tenacity and longing for God as much as I do (iron sharpens iron). As Trey and I continue to court and seek out marriage, my dad suggested that before we get hitched, we go through spiritual relationship counseling. As direction given by our counselor at the end of our session, he challenged the both of us to read the Bible everyday. It wasn’t until I started reading the Bible not out of need because of something negative going on in my life, but out of necessity to feed my soul everyday was that I realized that everything I need as far as direction on what to do is in the Bible and is still applicable today.

I have found that for most of my Christian life, I have been a lukewarm Christian… until  recently. I don’t have much friends anymore. I enjoy attending church service and really try to hear, understand and apply the lessons taught and see how and where I can apply it in my daily life. But for so long, I was a lukewarm Christian. The beauty of it, is that you don’t have to be!

Read the devotion below and see how it can be applied in your daily life to boil in The Spirit!

DEVOTION

In Revelation 3:14–21, the Lord is describing the “lukewarm” heart attitude of those in the Laodicean church, an attitude manifested by their deeds. The Laodiceans were neither cold nor hot in relation to God, just lukewarm. Hot water can cleanse and purify; cold water can refresh and enliven. But lukewarm water carries no similar value. The Laodiceans understood the Lord’s analogy because their city drinking water came over an aqueduct from a spring six miles to the south, and it arrived disgustingly lukewarm. Laodicean water was not hot like the nearby hot springs that people bathed in, nor was it refreshingly cold for drinking. It was lukewarm, good for nothing. In fact, it was nauseating, and that was the Lord’s response to the Laodiceans—they sickened Him, and He said, “I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (verse 16).

The letter to the church at Laodicea is the harshest of the seven letters to the churches in Asia Minor. By His indictment of their “deeds” (Revelation 3:15), Jesus makes it clear that this is a dead church. The members of this church see themselves as “rich” and self-sufficient, but the Lord sees them as “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (verse 17). Their lukewarm faith was hypocritical; their church was full of unconverted, pretend Christians.

Jesus frequently equates deeds with a person’s true spiritual state: “By their fruit you will recognize them,” and “Every good tree bears good fruit” (Matthew 7:16–17). Clearly, the lukewarm deeds of the Laodiceans were not in keeping with true salvation. The deeds of the true believer will be “hot” or “cold”—that is, they will benefit the world in some way and reflect the spiritual passion of a life transformed. Lukewarm deeds, however—those done without joy, without love, and without the fire of the Spirit—do harm to the watching world. The lukewarm are those who claim to know God but live as though He doesn’t exist. They may go to church and practice a form of religion, but their inner state is one of self-righteous complacency. They claim to be Christians, but their hearts are unchanged, and their hypocrisy is sickening to God.

The fact that the lukewarm individuals to whom Christ speaks are not saved is seen in the picture of Jesus standing outside of the church (Revelation 3:20). He has not yet been welcomed into their midst. In love, the Lord rebukes and disciplines them, commanding them to repent (verse 19). He sees their lukewarm attitudes as “shameful nakedness” that needs to be clothed in the white garments of true righteousness (verse 18). He urges them to be earnest, or zealous, and commit themselves totally to Him. Our Lord is gracious and long-suffering and gives the lukewarm time to repent.

The Laodiceans enjoyed material prosperity that, coupled with a semblance of true religion, led them to a false sense of security and independence (see Mark 10:23). The expression “I am rich; I have acquired wealth” (Revelation 3:17) stresses that the wealth attained came though self-exertion. Spiritually, they had great needs. A self-sufficient attitude and lukewarm faith are constant dangers when people live lives of ease and prosperity.

PRAYER

 Oh, Father, You have created me with the capacity for deep affections —  and You made me this way that I may glorify You by finding you my Supreme Satisfaction and the Fountain of everything delightful.

But I confess that my affections for You are often grievously tepid while my selfish interests steam.

  • I am bold to defend my own honor and reputation and often timid to defend Yours.
  • I am quick to satisfy my bodily appetites and often slow to feed my soul with the Bread of Life.
  • I squander moments devoted to communing with You while carefully protecting moments devoted to banal entertainment.
  • I am distracted from speaking with you by books that need straightening, email that needs answering, and a bald spot in the yard that needs seeding.

I am easily and foolishly concerned with worldly success and prosperity while languid and unmoved about the greater things of another world!

And I know that my errant affections are most offensive to You when I hear of the infinite height, depth, and length, and breadth of your love for me in Christ Jesus,

O gracious Father, thank you that your Son’s great sacrifice is so great and so sufficient that it pays even for such sins as mine.

Father, I am humbled to the dust that I am not more affected at what affects you! I repent of being “slothful in zeal”! No more, Father! Make me boil in spirit as I serve you (Romans 12:11)! To be moved by your glorious gospel and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4) is why you gave me affections! Nothing in earth or heaven is greater or more important.

Today, I take to heart Your Son’s warning: “Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm… I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15–16). Merciful Father, make me hot! Whatever it takes, whatever it costs me, give me the Spirit-salve for my heart-eyes (Revelation 3:18) so that I may see what is Real, believe what is True, treasure what is Valuable, and forsake what is worthless.

In the name of Jesus, amen.

This prayer was inspired by and adapted from a portion of Jonathan Edwards’s book, Religious Affections (the last three paragraphs of Part 1).

 

SIgnature

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