Do you struggle keeping your faith alive and vibrant? Do you wonder if Jesus would accuse you of having a lukewarm faith? The good news is that if you even have those questions, God is at work in your heart. Read on…
Scripture: Rev: 3:15-19
15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.
Lukewarm Faith: Don’t Get Spit Out (A Call to Prayer)
[clickToTweet tweet=”Don’t Get Spit Out: A remedy for lukewarm faith from @called2_worship by @Phil_Mershon” quote=”This morning I poured a glass of water from our filter. Normally it’s refreshingly cold, but today it was lukewarm. I almost spit it out.” theme=”style6″] I didn’t because I was parched, but normally I would. The temperature difference between that and what I prefer is probably only 10 degrees, but what a significant 10 degrees. The same goes for hot drinks; if they cool down just enough they are no longer enjoyable to drink.
Jesus’ words to the church in Laodecia are harsh. But this church needed a slap in the face for their lukewarm faith—and so do we sometimes. We can easily become content with our surroundings and lives, thinking we’re doing okay. Nothing can lull us to sleep as quickly as an abundance of possessions. Thankfully Jesus loves us enough to discipline us and shake us out of our doldrums.
He isn’t condemning wealth, instead he is confronting idols of self-sufficiency and spiritual blindness. The remedy is difficult to hear for the rich and financially content (“fat ones” in some parts of scripture) to embrace. Gold that has been purified refers to the purification that comes only through intense heat. Our faith will become pure and valuable only as it is tested to its limits.
I grew up singing a song called Refiner’s Fire. The first verse says this:
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold and precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold, pure gold
It sounds good and biblical, but I don’t think I knew what I was praying and I’m guessing that most who sing this song don’t either. The refiner’s fire is very hot. Just as those who threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the fiery furnace were consumed, the refiner’s fire consumes all that is within reach. This is not a prayer to utter lightly. But it’s also the only path toward a more pure and holy faith.
Here’s the good news: Jesus already walked through the fire for your punishment. Now he is inviting you into the furnace for your holiness. It doesn’t sound as inviting as a trip to the Bahamas, but the rewards are lasting and your life will be far richer.
Prayers for today
Self: Lord, I submit myself to your refining process for the good of my faith and ultimate worth. Burn away my unholy desires and passions. Remove all those things from my heart and life that hinder my usefulness to you, my family, my friends, and this world. Grant to me a burning desire to bring you glory through everything I do—no matter what.
Family: I pray for my spouse, kids, and family that we would willingly and joyfully endure your purifying fires of trials and testing so that our faith would be blazing hot. Show me how to discipline my children with the same love that Jesus has for me—compassionate and kind, but firm.
Work: May my light shine brighter in my workplace as I become more like Jesus. Help me see the monetary rewards of my work as temporary incentives, worth pursuing, but may they pale compared to the eternal rewards of impacting the lives of those around me and seeking the glory and expansion of your Kingdom.
Church: I pray for the refining of our church leaders’ lives. May our church be a brilliant light in our community because you have loved us enough to send us through the fires. May our prosperity be defined not by the beauty of our building or the strength of our budget, but the splendor of a deepening faith.
Community: As you refine my faith, may I see my neighbors, friends and community members through eyes of faith. Make me attentive to their needs and show me how to share words of hope, love, and faith.
World: Awaken your church to care for the broken, the poor, and those decimated by acts of violence and nature. Raise up godly leaders whose faith has been tested and who can demonstrate compassionate and wise leadership in the midst of our constantly changing world.
I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.