Posted On April 12, 2012

Swimming in Luke Warm Oceans

by | Apr 12, 2012 | The Gospel and the Christian Life

I see so many of my brothers and sisters swimming around in luke-warm oceans. A hurricane comes and they cry out for help from God, but in the mean time they are content to float on the slightly-choppy surface and allow the waves to carry them around.

They’re comfortable in the luke-warm water and don’t care about the storm on the horizon until it hits. People wonder why they feel so far away from God when they’re floating around in the luke-warm ocean water, being tossed about by the choppy waters. They think God has turned His back on them and their beliefs waver as a result, or maybe just take a back burner in their lives.

The truth of the matter is this: God is always there waiting for His children to call out to Him. Being luke-warm, however, causes the distance between a person and Jesus. When we first become Christians we have a great zeal for God because we realize just how much He’s done for us in saving us. After a while, however, we allow small things to wear down on our zeal.

At first it’s the tiny stuff like being rejected by someone while witnessing. It gets under our skin and the first brick of our wall is laid on the foundation. Next we start to pray and read our Bibles less and less. Any mentors we had in the faith may slowly begin discipling us less and less.

Soon we’re on our own—hardly reading the Bible, hardly praying, only going to church on Sundays or not at all. We’ve started listening to our old music again instead of worship music. We’ve stopped abstaining from worldly things—bad movies, bad TV shows, bad language, bad habits, bad relationships. It’s almost as though we were never saved in the first place.

So what happened? The truth: put garbage in, get garbage out. It starts with Satan working on our pride—we think we should have been able to convert that person we witnessed to when we first became Christians. We failed to understand that it’s not us doing the saving—it’s Jesus. We believed Satan when he whispered, “If God was really in you—if he really saved you—you’d have been able to lead that person to Christ.” Our pride made us think that it was true, and because we didn’t test it against scripture as we were instructed, we allowed ourselves to be led astray.

Next we cut down on prayer time and reading the Bible because it seemed redundant. We heard a whisper in our ears saying, “You already know the Gospel, you don’t need to read it over and over again every day to share it with others—you’ve got more important things to do.” And we believed it, yet again. We heard the same thing when we were praying—“You’ve got more important things to do.” This led us to shorten our time with God and put that new found free-time to use elsewhere.

But with all this extra time, what did we do? “Well, why not watch TV or a movie?” The voice whispered. “Eh, why not?” We reasoned, “What’s the harm in that?” Our non-Christian friend invites us to the insanely popular movie that we’ve been wanting to see since before we became Christians. Sounds like a good idea, despite the small voice of the Holy Spirit telling us that we shouldn’t go. So what that it’s rated R? We reason with ourselves, it’s not like we haven’t seen naked people on TV before! Heck, even in the commercials we see that—particularly for the Victoria Secret advertisements, so what’s the big deal with watching it in a movie?

Next month we see an ad on TV for a new TV series based on that movie. Oh boy! We can’t wait to find out if the TV show will be anything like the movie! Of course we must watch it and find out! Now we’re hooked on this R rated TV show. It started out as an interest and suddenly it’s become an obsession. In fact we’ve cut out our devotional time just to make sure we can watch it before going to bed every week. We can’t stop searching youtube for previews for next week, and listen to the theme song and sound track every day—pining for the next episode.

“But what about time with Me?” God asks us on Sunday as we’re half-heartedly listening to the pastor’s sermon. We shrug off the question, assuming that God wasn’t talking to us directly…it’s just the message of the sermon. Jesus beckons us to draw near and spend time with Him, but we refuse. We’d rather watch the recap of last season for 8 hours straight than spend one minute talking to God.

Our co-worker asks us a question about Jesus on Monday, knowing that we go to church and believing that we’re “religious”. We give him a political answer and refuse to acknowledge who Jesus really is. We’re sure our co-worker is just out to get us fired, when in fact it was a genuine desire to know more about Jesus. God brought him to us so he could hear the truth, but we’re too selfish to share the Gospel with him.

So this is how it happened…this is how we became luke-warm. We allowed ourselves to become apathetic toward sin and evil. We allowed garbage in, and as a result we became the one thing we should have left behind at the cross.

Jesus said in Revelation 3:16 (ESV), “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” We conveniently forgot this verse when we began swimming in our luke-warm oceans again. Jesus warned us not to be this way—this does not glorify Him. In verse 15, Jesus rebukes us saying, “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!” We must remember the words we read in 1st Peter 1:15 which say, “But as he who has called you is holy, so be holy in all manner of conduct”.

What does this (being holy) look like? Are we required to be perfect saints? No, we are all still sinners in need of God’s daily forgiveness and mercy. What Peter is trying to convey is that we should behave in a way that is pleasing to God in everything we do. Will we make mistakes? Yes. Will God forgive us for our mistakes? Yes, when we ask for forgiveness through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. Every day we should be confessing our sins to Jesus and asking for forgiveness. We should remember to love others and share the Good News as He has instructed us to do. We should be living our lives as though every minute could be our last here on this earth, because it very well could be.

Jesus gave us the gift of Eternal Life—it is our duty to share it with others. Let us not be luke-warm toward the saving power of the Gospel, but rather live as though the grace shown to us through Christ’s work on the cross means more than a weekly trip to church on Sunday. Let us regain our zeal and with fervor dedicate our every breath to telling the whole world that Jesus Christ has radically changed our lives.

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