Friday, October 3, 2008

Room Temperature

I almost always grab a cup of coffee before I sit down to write. I'm sure it makes me think more clearly! My coffee is steaming and my fingers get busy. Strangely though, if I stop and grab a drink just a few moments later, my steaming mug isn't steaming anymore. The coffee that was almost burning my tongue five minutes ago is now just sort of hot. If I wait another ten minutes, it won't be hot at all. The funny thing is, it isn't exactly cold, even if it sits for a while. Unless it's in a very cold room or car, it doesn't really get icy, it just gets lukewarm. It becomes room temperature.

I think that is a good description of how we become when we are spiritually lukewarm. It's not like we suddenly go from being on fire for God to become absolutely cold and hardhearted. We just gradually cool off a little at a time, almost imperceptibly, and we become "room temperature."

God told the church at Laodicea that he preferred that they be cold or hot, but not lukewarm. Isn't it rather astounding that God would prefer us to be cold to being lukewarm? Many times we look with disdain at those who are spiritually "cold", who have no pretense of interest in the things of God. But we often look at those who are "hot" in the same manner. We think they are "fanatical", too fervent, too zealous. God doesn't feel that way. He wants us to make a decision. Be cold or hot. But don't try to be somewhere in the middle. These are the ones who make Him "sick to His stomach".

When we are lukewarm, we ride the fence of public opinion. We want to be religious, but not zealous. We speak of God, but do not stand for God. We may go to church, but have little compulsion to do our part to help the church move forward for God. We may have a desire to be good, but little desire to be godly. We want to be happy, but not necessarily holy. We want things to be right, but are not overly concerned with righteousness. We do not want souls to be lost, but we do little to see souls saved. We hear the preaching of the Word of God, but rarely apply the message to our own lives. We have many personal preferences, but few personal convictions. We bow to the will of popular pressure rather than submitting to the will of God. We are more concerned with cultural correctness than we are with Scriptural correctness. We are looking for acceptance from others instead of acceptance by the Lord. We are much more comfortable being "conformed" than with being "transformed". We see the needs of others, but do not see our own spiritual needs. We are lethargic, satisfied, comfortable, and complacent.
We are "room temperature." We are satisfied to be the same temperature as whomever we are around....not too hot, not too cold. If we are in church, we may be a little warmer; in the world, a little cooler. We don't want to be uncomfortable, or to make others uncomfortable.

The problem is that God is not pleased with lukewarmness. In Bible times, doctors would give lukewarm water to do induce vomiting. This is what God says His reaction is to lukewarm Christians. He told this church He would spue them out of His mouth. This is not figurative for losing our salvation, but is descriptive of God's feelings for and reaction to our spiritual temperature. When we are lukewarm, we are no longer useful or appealing; instead, we are repulsive. God cannot and will not fellowship with us. He must bring rebuke and chastening into our lives in order for us to be brought to repentance, and to be restored to Him. (Rev. 3:19)

Lukewarmness is a serious problem, but it can be fixed. God has the cure for spiritual lukewarmness!

Tomorrow's Topic: Turn Up the Heat!

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