Where are you on God’s thermometer of faith? Is God’s warning to the lukewarm Christian for you? What does it say to the church in America as a whole?
Also, read about the tongue and the importance of allowing the Holy Spirit to help you control it and how the fear of man (trying to please people) is a trap!
Are You a Lukewarm Christian?
Neither Cold nor Hot!
14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, … “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
What a sad commentary! Lukewarm! Neither hot nor cold!
I love coffee. It’s the first thing I want in the morning (besides the Lord and His Word)! I, also, enjoy iced coffee occasionally, especially those fancy blended ones from Starbucks. But lukewarm coffee … yuk!
It’s the same with our faith. Lukewarm is good for nothing.
Lukewarm Christians may believe in God, may even go to church regularly, but their relationship with God doesn’t always impact the way they live life the rest of the week. They may believe the Bible, but when push comes to shove, they don’t stand up for the truths of God’s Word.
Recently, a friend and I were talking about this passage in Galatians 2:
11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. 12 When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. 13 As a result, other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
14 When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions?
It seems Peter was lukewarm. He didn’t want to look “fanatical” to his Jewish friends so he compromised the truth. Paul, on the other hand, was “hot” about the truth. We’ve probably all had those lukewarm moments, moments of which we are not especially proud, but we need to grow in our willingness to be hot for the things of God.
Sometimes our “lukewarm-ness” is even more dangerous. It could indicate that we’re not genuine believers. While this passage is addressed to lukewarm Christians, those who are unsaved can act religious (Matt. 7.21-23) but not have the power to be hot for God when the going gets rough.
James said if we are hearers of the Word and not doers we deceive ourselves (Jas. 1.22-25). So while we think we are “OK,” we are really “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” just like the Laodiceans—wretched and miserable in God’s view, blind to the truths of God and naked—not fooling Him for a minute. The only one we are fooling is ourselves.
So, let’s be hot for the things of God this Christmas season and throughout the New Year!
Today’s Other Readings:
God Who Reveals Himself
Chapter 3.7, “Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”
Even though God is God and His thoughts and plans are so above ours that they can never be fully understood (Is.55.8-9), He chooses to reveal Himself to us through the gift of language, in particular, the Scriptures. That is why it is so important to read, study, meditate on, and memorize His Word.
Keep Watch over my Lips
Verse 3, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
Apart from God, the tongue is an evil no one can control (Jas. 3.8). We must constantly submit our tongues to the control of the Holy Spirit.
The Fear of Man
“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.”
If the “fear of man” is a snare or a trap, it’s important that we understand, exactly, what it is so we can avoid it. The fear of man is a strong desire to please other people. It’s always wondering what someone will think of us. It’s staying home or not getting involved for fear of rejection. Sometimes, it masquerades as “shyness,” but is really a focus on self, rather than God and others.
Instead, we should have a servant’s heart toward others and focus on loving them biblically out of a desire to please God. When we do, we take our focus off of ourselves and place it where it belongs (Phil. 2.3-4, Matt. 22.37-40).
How has God spoken to you today? Did you see a passage in a new light? Did you see an area where you need to grow and change? Did you find a promise to hold on to? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In the next few days, we’ll talk about grace, unfair treatment, being a Christian single, and the responsibility involved in being a true friend.
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Getting ready for 2018 with a Chance to Win a Bible & Journal
The holidays are just around the corner and the new year will be on us before we know it. What will you do to make Bible reading and prayer an ongoing habit in the coming year? I’d like to encourage you to set a goal to read through the Bible and to sign up for my daily encouragement. This year I’ll be adding Scripture-based prayers to each day’s post. If you sign up before December 15 you’ll have a chance to win a MacArthur Daily Bible and a journal to record your thoughts and those Scripture-based prayers. Email subscribers will also be automatically entered into a drawing for monthly giveaways throughout 2018.
I hope you’ll sign up for my daily email. It can serve as a gentle reminder to stay on track. I try to make comments that are relevant to the daily struggles and questions that I hear in my counseling and discipleship ministries.
Start today so you can begin the habit and it will be a regular part of your day come January.
You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. Just click on the social media icons. But nothing replaces having the daily devotion pop up in your inbox each day. It, usually (once in a while life gets in the way), goes out at 3 a.m. MST, so it’s there for early risers no matter what time zone you’re in.
So will you join me and, possibly, encourage someone else to do the same. (Why not email or call them right now?) Let’s get ready and grow in our relationship with Him together.
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