Ever get the craving for a nice, tall glass of room-temperature water? The kind that you can hardly tell you’re drinking because it seems to have no temperature at all? Yeah, me neither. I don’t know about you, but this time of year, I drink a lot of hot coffee and hot chocolate. Fall means hot cider, spring and summer mean ice water, cold lemonade or iced tea. But there is never a time of year where we crave lukewarm water.
Why is that? It just never sounds good! One of my friends, who I help bale hay with several times during the summer tends to describe our warm water bottles (after they’ve sat in a hot truck for several hours) as “It’s not cold, but it’s wet.” Think about that. It’s wet. Really, that’s the only good thing about this water, since it’s so hot outside, and what we really want is ice cold water. Lukewarm water is never enjoyable. We either want cold water in the warm weather or hot drinks in the cold weather. Never, ever lukewarm.
In Revelation 3:16, one of the seven churches is described as “lukewarm” and because of this awful trait, God says he will spit them out of his mouth. He would rather have the church be hot or cold, but not lukewarm. This is clearly a negative trait, not only for our drinking water, but also for our lives as Christians.
We can’t judge people’s hearts, this is my disclaimer. I will not judge anyone’s hearts now, or any other time. But this article is meant to open the eyes of Christians (myself included) to what our calling as the Church is!
What is a lukewarm Christian? There is an incredible amount of passivity in the church world today. I hear a lot of “It’s not like I’m an atheist” or “I’m not like a super Christian, but I believe in God,” around campus and life in general. Don’t get me wrong, not being an atheist, and believing in God are both very good things (small starts though) to being a Christian. However, even as I type those words I can practically see people shrugging the words off in much the same way that I might say “I’m not like a diehard hockey fan, but I think it’s pretty cool.”
It’s so easy for people to say they’re Christians. In fact it’s somewhat of a romanticized idea. You see a beautiful mountain scene? Post a picture to Facebook and talk about how God doesn’t need a filter! Something good happen in your life? #blessed. Do you wear a cross around your neck, have a Jesus fish on your car, or post lyrics to Christian songs? All of those are good things and they’re certainly not bad in themselves. But if that’s what makes or breaks our faith, we are in big trouble. We can’t express our faith just on Sundays, or just when something good happens in our lives or just when we see a tiny fingerprint of God’s beauty in creation. Being Christian is a 24/7, 365 days/year task.
When we express our faith, no matter if it’s private or public we should feel and see in ourselves a flame, white-hot and almost frightening in its intensity. Every day, every moment this burning passion in our hearts should lit, and we need to stoke that fire with kindling every single day. We can do this by our personal devotions, time in the Bible, singing or listening to uplifting, Christian music, and constant prayer.
Figure out what lights that fire in you. For me, it’s singing. When I was in choir in Covenant a few years back, I think that was one of the first times I felt that burning passion so really in my soul. Now, when I listen to those songs from choir or sing along with them, I can feel I’m kindling the fire. Whatever it is for you, figure out what your kindling is and fuel your passion.
Next time you take a huge gulp of your coffee and then realize it’s gone cold, go ahead and spit it out. This summer, when you grab for your water bottle at work that’s now warm, and you do a spit-take, keep in mind this is God’s reaction to lukewarm Christianity. It’s far better to be either hot or cold. Enjoy your hot coffee and ice water, and remember to never let yourself become lukewarm.