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Are You a Lukewarm Christian?

In Revelation 3, Jesus criticizes a church for being full of believers who were neither hot nor cold. This is where the idea of a "lukewarm Christian" originates. In Revelation 3:16, Jesus basically said that he prefers hot coffee and cold brew, but if it's room temperature, he wants to spit it out of his mouth. And before you think you're exempt from being lukewarm, just know that Christians who attend churches and accept the gospel can still be considered lukewarm when they are not truly committed to Jesus and not actively involved in his work...

Yikes! Think about this illustration: Let's say you receive a million dollars as well as a free year of membership to a millionaire's club. But let's also be clear that wearing a tux or a classy evening gown is the only need to access the club and take advantage of everything it has to offer. Your first-night outfit consists of pants and a t-shirt. The guard out front says "No way! You can't enter dressed like that!" You reply, "But I'm a millionaire!" He answers, "I'm sorry but you must be properly dressed to attend the club." The Kingdom of Heaven is somewhat like this. You already have all you need to enter as a believer. But if you don’t adopt the values of the Kingdom, this doesn’t mean you don’t belong … it just means you cannot experience it. Jesus uses three parables in Matthew 25 to describe these types of Christians. The bridegroom's friends, the maidens, in Matthew 25:1–13, don't necessarily live in a way that anticipates him coming back anytime soon. Instead of considering how to fulfill their obligation to God, they are simply considering how to make things comfortable for themselves at the moment. They care about instant gratification, and that's pretty much it! The "goats" in Matthew 25:31–46 are shocked when Jesus rejects them since they believed they were serving him faithfully. However, they showed no interest in giving everything of themselves to God's broken people. At the time, these people truly thought they were living their lives the right way. But in fact, they were super lukewarm! The sobering aspect of this illustration and both of these parables is that there is no neutral ground. Your allegiance to Jesus is either present or it's not. Either you are a sheep or a goat. Either you're ready as his bridegroom or not. And that puts the ambivalent Christian in an extremely scary situation. We first encounter the term "lukewarm Christian" in the verse mentioned above in Revelation. Then in Revelation 3:14–22, John begins addressing the Laodicean church. This church was having serious trouble. Most had completely given up on their faith, and they were really dependent on their own abilities to get by. They were the definition of lukewarm. The iconic scene of Jesus knocking on the door in Revelation 3:20 is all based on the outcome of Christians straying from God rather than a warning to unbelievers. Here's what it says "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." The book of Revelation discusses how it's possible for believers to stray from Jesus and begin depending on things other than God. As a result, Jesus is pushed to the side and left to stand on the other side of the door. This verse depicts Jesus as knocking on the door of a Christian's heart, asking to truly enter this time and make His home with them.

Friend, he longs to be close to us. And it's about time we let Him in. We need to stop, once and for all, being lukewarm. I mean just think about it... Is there anything more cooling on a hot day than a cold beverage? After spending time in the sun on a hot day, a cold beverage tastes so much nicer. Contrast that with a water bottle that was left outside in the sun while you were playing basketball. And that's the only drink in sight, and you're parched. Yuck! That is the ideal portrayal of a follower of Jesus to people around them. We ought to be reinvigorating, healing, and sustaining. The whole world is thirsty, yet all they can frequently find is a bottle of lukewarm water that has been sitting in the sun all day. Yet, God calls us to be a cool beverage on a hot day.

You may be curious to know where you're at spiritually. And I don't blame you. It's extremely important to know. It really is a matter of life and death. Let's find out if your spiritual state is contributing to this lukewarm epidemic spreading like wildfire... The following are typical indications that you may be a lukewarm Christian:

  • On Sundays, you act differently than you do the rest of the week.

  • You have more friends who are atheists than Christians.

  • You have friends that are unaware that you are a Christian.

  • You speak indecently without any remorse.

  • You hardly ever, if ever, read the Bible.

  • If you pray at all, it's not often. Maybe it's when you need something.

  • You appear more worldly than godly.

  • You rarely, if ever, discuss their faith.

  • You rationalize sins in your life.

  • You only turn to God during difficult times.

  • Instead of worrying about what God would think of you, you are more concerned with what people would think of you.

Do you relate to any of these? If so... What do you do with this information? How does one go from being a lukewarm Christian to becoming an "on fire" and "hot" Christian?

There are many things I can tell you to do. Many things that I mention in my book, Ignited. Ignited is literally a guide on how to get on fire, and stay on fire for God, long-term. We even have a workbook, The Ignited Workbook, to work through that is packed with scripture studies, journal prompts, verse memorization, and so much more. You can find the Ignited book here. You can find The Ignited Workbook here! But what can you do right now? One of the biggest things you can do right now to counteract your lukewarmness is...

Make repentance a habit. I'm talking about leading a life of constant confession. I'm talking about learning to be completely transparent with God in prayer.

He will not heal what we are not willing to disclose. If we say that we are sinless, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us, according to 1 John 1:8–9. If we repent and confess our sins to him, he is true and righteous and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If you confess your sins to God and put your faith in Jesus Christ's steadfast forgiveness and cleansing, you will only be able to transform from a lukewarm Christian to an "on fire" Christian. You may say, "But I always relapse into the same sin. I don't want to just keep confessing it over and over again." But that's exactly what you need to do. Go and confess it. Ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten your eyes so you can recognize the recurring patterns of behavior that lead you to sin. And if you trip and fall once more? Confess again. Continue to become closer to Christ by confession until the power of Christ at work in you causes the enemy's grip to be released from your life. Seriously - One of your only hopes of escaping lukewarmness is to be sincere and consistently repent! You don't want to make Jesus sick when He looks at you. And the first step to that is cultivating a repentant lifestyle. If you are steadfast with this, you will undoubtedly become on fire for Jesus again. And please know this... A fire for God is not based on your emotions. In Ignited, we redefine what a true fire for God is. Emotions are the language of our hearts. Faith is the language of God. A fire for God is fully dependent on your faith. Not your emotions.

You see... Lukewarm Christians do not blatantly reject Jesus, but they do not blatantly live for Him as well. They rely on their feelings and stay in this middle ground, playing it safe. They merely do the bare minimum and remain passive Christians. They do not actively preach the Gospel and win people back to God.

All of that, to say this: There is such good news about Jesus and lukewarm Christians. Jesus won't let you stay in your lukewarm condition because you were lovingly bought at such a great bloody price on the crucifixion of Jesus at Calvary and because your loving Father in heaven sealed you with the Holy Spirit. Jesus will step in if you decide to stay in your lukewarm state. And maybe he's doing that right now since you were led to read this article. Jon Bloom summarizes the salve to a lukewarm spirit by way of a moving prayer. Make it yours today:

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.

Restore our fire for you, God! Begin with daily repentance and make your way back into His loving arms.

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