Is your love for God at a boil? I can find this a challenge. I’d love to state that I am always on high for God, that I’m always hot, that my love and passion for Him are at a boil. However, I find that often I am not; I am more relaxed than I should be. How about you?
Paul understood this battle. In Romans 7:15, he states, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” (NLT). Even for this amazing man of God, there were moments when something he did caused him to step back and evaluate his stance.
Each person whose story God chose to share in the Bible is a person just like you and me. Not one of them was perfect. They all had struggles, just like we do. It can be easy to read the story and declare them saints while forgetting that even saints have flaws. We are all a work in process, and they were no different.
The challenge is to recognize when we are lukewarm and make adjustments.
I often think of the letter to the church of Laodicea. Here we have a wealthy city that was known for its banking industry. They also had a medical school and manufactured wool. From a financial standpoint, the town was rich. However, they had a water problem and built an aqueduct to bring water into the city. The result is that they had water, but it was lukewarm. Given this situation, it is interesting that in this letter, that the analogy of lukewarm water is part of the letter. It certainly paints a word picture that we need to pay attention to.
If you are thirsty and hot, the best-tasting thing is a glass of cold water. If you are cold, there is nothing like sipping a cup of hot tea. However, lukewarm can be unsatisfying.
In the letter to the Laodicean church, it states: 15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. 20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.<1>
Because this section of Scripture is found in the book of Revelation, it can be easy to dissociate ourselves from it and think that we cannot be found guilty of being lukewarm. However, Matthew 24:12 gives us a grim reminder as it states, “Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.” (NLT)
We live in a day where sin is running rampant. It seems like every time I turn on the news, another law has been passed, or a victory won that goes against the Word of God. Years ago, I read a statement that what one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace. I shudder when I think of the truth of that statement regarding where we are as a society and where we are headed if we don’t stop the moral decline.
However, to turn things around, we must begin to boil for Jesus. We cannot afford to be lukewarm in our faith. We must find the courage to take back the ground for the Kingdom of Heaven. There are seasons for peace, and there are reasons for war. However, there is never a season for pretending something is not happening and that it will just go away. Whenever we do that, we are relinquishing ground to the enemy.
As Paul is writing to Timothy, he reminds him to preach the word. The Passion Translation puts it this way:
2 proclaim the Word of God and stand upon it no matter what! Rise to the occasion and preach when it is convenient and when it is not. Preach in the full expression of the Holy Spirit<a="><em>a</em></span></a><em>">—with wisdom and patience as you instruct and teach the people.<2>
Notice the combination of “proclaim” and “stand.” For the follower of Jesus, there is never a season where sharing the Word of God is out of season. But instead, we proclaim and stand, end of story. This positional stance will result in:
2 Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you,<a="><em>a</em></span></a><em>"> but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.<3>
Paul, the very one who says he doesn’t understand himself and does what he hates, is also pouring out the cause and effect of following God with a focus and a passion.
I take all of this and mix worship into the mix. Psalm 100:4 reminds us that the way through the gates of Heaven is thanksgiving, and we can access the courts of Heaven through praise. When I enter into the culture and atmosphere of Heaven and worship the ONE that is worthy of all praise, I can’t help but to boil!
<1> Revelation 3:15-22. Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
<2> 2 Timothy 4:2. The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018, 2020 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com
<3> Romans 12:2. The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018, 2020 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com