Have you ever stuck your hand into hot water by mistake? You thought the water running from the sink was nice and warm, but instead it was really hot? What did you do? Screamed and jerked back!
Heat brings a reaction — to our hands, our senses and our emotions.
Lukewarm water is safe to the touch and doesn’t even raise an eyebrow; hot water can be dangerous and costly.
The same can be said of faith.
The world doesn’t have to answer to lukewarm Christianity, but it does react to faith that’s on fire for the Lord.
Think about the history of the Christian church. The faith of those first fishers of men definitely brought a reaction from the religious leaders of the day. When thousands were being saved and gathering to hear the preaching of Peter and John, the rulers threatened them to stop teaching in the name of Jesus, but they were too afraid to do more, because the people were so caught up in the movement. It was obvious, they realized, that “these men had been with Jesus.”*
The continued growth of the church and their boldness ultimately led to a baseless attack on Stephen and merciless stoning till death. The authorities knew they had to do something to stop not just the growth but the power of this movement over the people.
Persecution came as a result of the effectiveness of the church, but it did not mean the end of the church, only its ability to spread and grow even further.
Sometimes I feel that today attacks on the church or individual Christians are like a game of whac-a-mole. You know the one — where the animal pops up its head and you hit it with a club.
I’m not calling Christians animals or saying we need to whack them, but I do think that the attacks are sporadic like that because the church as a whole is more lukewarm than hot for Christ.
We see what happens when a church takes the risk to stand up for their faith — they get attacked by the state or even community members. It’s not a pretty site. Of course, that’s in America, where “persecution” is still mild compared to places like Nigeria, the Middle East, or China today, where Christians are being systematically killed for their faith.
Being a Christian who dares to make a stand can get you in hot water.
Being lukewarm is safer — or is it? That’s the question I need to ask myself today.
What price am I willing to pay for my faith?
- Am I willing to lose my business?
- Be mocked on social media?
- Lose my job?
- Have the doors of my church closed?
- Rejected by my family and friends?
Who sees us? Jesus does, and I don’t want him to say this of me:
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot or cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.*
Please, please…stay lukewarm, if you want to play it safe in this life, not get noticed by the world, and be rebuked by the Lord.
Or, turn up the temperature on your faith to win others to Christ, be an inspiration to those who watch your life, and leave this world with the confidence that all will know you had been with Jesus.
The choice is yours.
Grace and Peace
Revelations 3:15-16 (NIV)