““‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”” Revelation 3:15
It is easy to slip into what is safe and comfortable. To settle into routines and patterns that enable us to get by and have a decent life. But God is calling us to more than that. He does not merely want us to survive, He wants us to thrive. He has not called us to lukewarm lives. He desires to use us to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, for the sake of spreading His glory throughout the earth. It is easy to let our passion fade and settle for the path of least resistance. We chose our own comfort and self-gratification over the life God has called us to. We are, as CS Lewis famously said, “half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
One major problem is when people don’t see anything different in our lives. If they can’t see God having made a difference in our lives they won’t take us seriously when we tell them they need to let Jesus change their lives. It is only when we are authentic in living out the faith which we profess that people will be interested in coming to church to find out more about it. In Northern Ireland we have a terrible problem called nominal Christianity. We identify as a Christian country. Many of us come to church on almost every Sunday. We have a Bible in the house and we think that’s enough. The Pharisees thought they were doing enough to please God, and yet Jesus said to them that they were “like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness” Matthew 23:27. But coming to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you a car. It’s a cliché phrase, but it is true. And likewise just because you know all the rules (or at least think you do) that doesn’t make you a referee when you go to watch a rugby or football game. We must not be lukewarm, and we must not be whitewashed tombs. We don’t want to fall into the trap of looking great but being spiritually dead inside. We cannot be nominal Christians, attending church but not living it out outside these four walls. If we truly believe that our story is that we were dead but God made us alive in Christ then everything changes. We can’t live our lives the same way everyone else does. We can no longer be content with the mudpies. If we have had an encounter with the living God, the One who spoke the universe into being then we will transformed. You cannot remain the same after you encounter the living God.
We cannot be lukewarm. We cannot be halfhearted. We must be all in, not dipping toes in the water like safe cultural Christians with no real cost but diving in, being fully submerged in surrender to Jesus, seeking the face of God with all that we have, holding nothing back from Him and giving Him our all. I write not as one who has this sorted, but as one who is convicted too. So often we take the path of least resistance, but God is calling us to take the narrow road that will bring the most fruit for the kingdom. We are not called to live for the moment but to live in light of eternity. We are called to live for the holiday at the sea, and that means rejecting the mudpies!