“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot…” (Jesus) Revelation 3:15
The commentary in my Bible for this verse explains it this way:
“Cold springs are refreshing; hot mineral springs are medicinal; lukewarm is nauseating.”
Nauseating indeed. The first thing I thought of was my coffee; make it hot or make it iced. Hot coffee that has gone lukewarm is gross. Iced coffee that has melted and is watered down isn’t happening either.
So it goes with disciples and Christians in today’s world. As the culture shifted, so did we. In order to stay “relevant” we’ve been told to just focus on the areas we agree upon and forget the rest. Broad and shallow messages keep everyone happy. Everything is subjective. Lukewarm-ness is the way to be.
It’s fashionable and forward-thinking to be fuzzy on Biblical matters. Entire church movements have been formed around the idea that the gospels need to revamped to suit today’s believers. Two thousand years of God’s Word and we somehow have managed to convince ourselves that God needs to adjust His eternal Word to our changing times. *cringe* So, uncertainty is the new truth. Doubt is a virtue. Taking God’s Word at face value is narrow-minded and antiquated.
This whole idea fascinates me – the war on Truth. The total denial of Biblical clarity and the complete lack of confidence in the power of the Word. So here is what triggered my fascination: blogs. Shiny, funny, “Christian”-chick blogs. These women have thousands of followers. They have wit and humor we all can relate to. They have book deals. It’s a good set up – write about all kinds of stuff moms can relate to, make them laugh, and make a living from it. Dreamy! But here’s what happened: reading several posts one day I realized this funny, colorful, self-proclaimed “Christian” mama was promoting some decidedly “non-Christian” ideas. Written with humor and breeziness and wit, it was an easy, nice, worldly read. It lined up perfectly with what the world promotes. But from a Biblical standpoint… totally false. Another one, when backed into a corner, acknowledged God’s Word to be the final authority on a matter, but apologized so profusely about it so as not to offend anyone I truly wondered what she thinks. So people swoon, jump on the bandwagon, gush their approval in the comments section, hit the “like” button ten thousand times…and the real truth gets lost in a sea of half-truths and snazzy sounding opinions.
And this is what the enemy of our souls does. Just like with Adam and Eve. He questions God’s given truth. He contradicts what God actually said, and then he concocts a new version of that truth, which is ALWAYS a lie. The world has drastically changed, we’ve been told to change with it to stay relevant. But I think it’s this very belief that is making us as Christians more and more irrelevant.
In the not-so-distant past, it was cool to be a Christian. There was at least a moral compass of some kind in the world. How quickly that is changing. I think of the world my kids will have to function in where being a true, Bible-believing Christian is bordering on a hate-crime. The tide has turned. What’s wrong is right and what’s Godly is reviled. How do you stand up to a world like that?
Jesus said “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16).”
And Paul reminded us:
“Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season… for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables (2 Timothy 4:2-3).”
We are called to be disciples in a world of wolves. Becoming what they are doesn’t seem like an effective solution. We have to be wise. We have to also demonstrate Christ’s love. We are called to preach the Word. Get the truth out there. But do so in humility. There are people who won’t endure it. It has to be ok. There are those who will be offended. Let it be. Sometimes what Jesus says is hard. It’s hard to be a sheep among wolves.
The true Gospel is inherently offensive, foolish and a stumbling block for those that reject it (1 Corinthians 1:23). Our job isn’t to make the world “like” us. It will never work. Lukewarm is a dangerous place to be. Being spiritually uncommitted may be easier and fashionable, but it isn’t what we are called to be.
“How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him. but if Baal, follow him (I Kings 18:21).”
So lukewarm believers nauseate Jesus. The self-sufficient, comfortable, affluent church in Laodicea was warned. He goes on to say “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten (Rev. 1:19)”. He loves us enough to warn us when we go astray. We are to love our neighbor and speak the truth in love. You know what I’ve learned from the internet? People do NOT enjoy being judged. Or feeling like they are being judged. As a result of “preaching truth with no love” we have swung all the way over to “preaching love without truth”. Lukewarm beliefs, unable to stand for anything, so everything is permissible.
I’m not judging these talented ladies. I still read their stuff. I can relate to their crazy stories and lives. But I have learned to be careful. We are so eager to feel connected to thoughts and ideas and feel better about where we are at, etc. but adjusting our beliefs to fit what the world wants to hear is a dangerous game.
I love that God’s Word is clear, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us into ALL truth. He doesn’t coerce us into following Him, there is always a choice to discipleship. May we read HIS Word first and foremost. May we have grace and a sense of humor to navigate our ever-changing world and the courage to never get lukewarm.
God has brought me to the exact same truth in the last year and a half. I’ve been inside those very blog circles and I was treated so badly and indifferently because I challenged them in this when I came to full understanding. I found a few who were awakened as I was and told me so behind the scenes. They are thinking of backing out some as I have.
Another issue is the networking for platforms that goes on, the writing trends instead of uniqueness in God’s calling, and quoting and sharing things that are not Biblical. Like the false salvation doctrine of Ann Lamott… that stuff is getting passed around blogs like it’s Gospel truth. It’s no where near!
And how about the mysticism and borderline Panentheism. I check who the author or blog writer “recommends”. For instance I quit reading Ann Voskamp’s site … not because I don’t support her as a Christian (she truly seems to love the Lord) ,but because of the quotes and her recommendations of those who beloeve in universalism which is new age ideology cloaked in some truthful quotes to make it look Biblical.
I am very convicted by God to be very cautious about what I read and put into my mind and heart, and just as careful what I share out on my site. Lukewarm is bad, and sharing untruths disguised in a truthful quote is dangerous.
Great article here about this dangerous “trend” among true Believers and some who might not be.
I’ve started an essay in this too. Bound to lose some when I publish later this week. But Truth is Truth and must be honored.
Heather, thank you for this! I am glad I’m not alone! 🙂 I enjoy reading lots of different things, but it’s with more caution and discernment than before for sure!
This reminds me of C.S Lewis and Tolkien’s writings. They often made bold claims based on their beliefs that did not fit comfortably into the fabric of society. I think deep down we all want a story we can connect to and we all know the worlld’s morality is not enough.
**Here’s my thoughts on the matter*
Many are afraid to stand believing God’s word because they have not lived a life clinging to his word. Sometimes it is hard to preach things we have not experienced…we can’t talk about rejoicing if we always complain: 1) we will sound like a hypocrite, or 2) we can’t even wrap our mind around the concept. I think if more people learned to live according to God’s teachings on a daily basis it would be easier to speak his word…because out of the heart the mouth speaks (Matt 15:18).
Thank you so much fir taking the time to write this! I agree – until we experience truths for ourselves, its useless to say or preach anything. Once its in your heart and set as a truth, you can live it out and share it in love without fear of what people think. More and more, what we have to say doesnt fit very well into society anyways! 😉 Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, well said.