Jogging on the treadmill has to be one of the most boring ways to burn calories but if I have the choice of jogging indoors in a comfortably heated room compared to jogging outdoors through snow and ice in 20 degree windy weather, I’ll take the treadmill. Sometimes I watch the TV in the exercise room or listen to music on my ipod. Today I thought I would put a podcast on and it really helped. Now if I could just have something fun to look at while I jog other than the electrical outlet straight ahead of me on the wall.
One of my new favorite “web pastors” is Craig Groeschel of Lifechurch.tv. I’m in the midst of the series called “Practical Atheist” – about when we claim to believe in God but we live as if He doesn’t exist. The message I heard today was about when Jesus spoke to a church from Laodicea (in the book of Revelation). He said this to them, “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” Rev. 3:15-16 The Greek word used in that last phrase is “emeo” which means to spew, spit or vomit. When we say we believe but live as if we don’t, it makes Jesus want to throw us up. That’s pretty graphic!
According to Craig (and author Francis Chan) Lukewarm Christians:
- Crave acceptance from people more than acceptance from God.
- Rarely share their faith in Christ.
- Do just whatever it takes to alleviate their guilt.
- Think more about life on earth than eternity in heaven…stuff, image, money, etc.
- Gauge their morality by comparing to others.
- Want to be saved from the penalty of sin without changing their ways.
- Only turn to God when they’re in a bind.
- Give whenever it doesn’t hinder their standard of living. Studies show that Non-Christians are actually more generous than most Christians.
- Are not much different from the rest of the world….same morals, entertained by the same things…
- Want the benefits of what Christ did without conforming to who He is.
WOW. That is a tough list. Tough message. The truth truly does hurt sometimes but how absolutely vital it is! Have I become a full-time mom, wife, worker, friend and a part-time Christian? It can happen so easily. I’m backwards much of the time.
Why are we like this? How do we become lukewarm? Many of us had emotional conversion moments when we really felt cleansed of our sin, when we first gave our hearts to Jesus. What makes the difference between someone who has lost that fire and become lukewarm and someone who is still burning with God’s passion and love in their heart? One reason is that it’s so “easy” to believe in God here in our country. There is no price to pay, no sacrifice compared to believers in countries where it’s against the law to profess Jesus as their Savior, where they may lose their jobs, families or lives for remaining faithful to Christ.
If we read on in Revelation, Jesus offers, “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.” (v. 20) He was saying that to the “believers” in Laodicea – it sounds like he’s not in yet. They couldn’t really follow and live for Jesus because they didn’t know Him, because they hadn’t let him come in. Think if someone had invited you over for dinner, someone who wanted to get to know you better, but once you arrived they stood in the open door, not allowing you to step inside. Awkward to say the least. It reminds me of how I behave when someone from Jehovah’s Witnesses comes to my house. I don’t want them to come in. I’ll listen to them at the door while they stay outside and then politely tell them I’m not interested. Sometimes we’ve even ignored their knocking on the door, pretending to not be at home. I know, that’s kind of pathetic isn’t it?
Jesus said he’s knocking. He’s ready and willing to come in and let us know Him, but we have to open the door and let him in. We’re not just talking about letting him stick his foot in the door. He needs to come all the way in. Close the door behind Him. Sit down with Him. Engage in conversation. Listen to Him. There is no in between, no halfway, no little bit of Jesus – either you ask Him all the way in or you leave him outside on the porch.
Come in, Jesus, please.
To watch Craig’s message, click here.