This is an edited excerpt from a book that I found today. It’s actually rather lengthy, so I’ve tried to condense it without altering the message. For each point, I included the scripture reference so if you’re like me and you’re getting your toes stepped on with a particular point, please look up the applicable verses that indicate what God has said on the matter. Though I really appreciate the way the author has conveyed it, the real conviction comes from the truth which can be found in God’s word.
I know I’ve really been hitting on our commitment and discipleship and being lukewarm, but it’s definitely what I’ve needed in my life and I hope God can restore that zeal in the life of someone else as well.
(Steel-toed boots may be required ;) )
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves…” – 1 Corinthians 13:5
…attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe “good Christians” do, so they go.
…give money to charity and to the church, as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so. After, all God loves a cheerful giver right?
(1 Chronicles 21:24, Luke 21:1-4)
…tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives.
(Luke 6:26, Revelation 3:1, Matthew 23:5-7)
…don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it; they’re merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one.
(John 10:10, Romans 6:1-2)
…are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for “extreme” Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call “radical” what Jesus expected of all His followers.
(James 1:22, 4:17, Matthew 21:28-31)
…rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion.
(Matthew 10:32, 33)
…gauge their morality or “goodness” by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satisfied that while they aren’t as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street.
…say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, a part of their lives. But only a part. They give Him a section of their time, their money, and their thoughts, but He isn’t allowed to control their lives.
…love God, but they do not love Him with all their heart, soul and strength. They would be quick to assure you that they try to love God that much, but that sort of total devotion isn’t really possible for the average person; it’s only for [preachers] and missionaries and radicals.
…love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love of others is typically focused on those who love them in return, like family, friends, and other people they know and connect with. There is little love left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, whose kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable. Their love is highly conditional and very selective and generally comes with strings attached.
(Matthew 5:43-47, Luke 14:12-14)
…will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give.
…think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focused on today’s to-do list, this week’s schedule and next month’s vacation. Rarely, if ever, do they intently consider the life to come.
(Philippians 3:18-20, Colossians 3:2)
…are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. They are quick to point out, “Jesus never said money is the root of all evil, only that the love of money is.” Untold numbers of lukewarm people feel “called” to minister to the rich; very few feel “called to minister to the poor.
(Matthew 25:34, 40, Isaiah 58:6,7)
…do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They want to do the bare minimum, to be “good enough” without it requiring too much of them. They ask, “How far can I go before it’s considered a sin?” instead of “How can I keep myself pure as a temple of the Holy Spirit?” “How much do I have to give?” instead of “How much can I give?” “How much time should I spend praying and reading my Bible?” instead of “I wish I didn’t have to go to work, so I could sit here and read longer!”
(1 Chronicles 29:14, Matthew 13:44-46)
…are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God.
(1 Timothy 6:17, 18, Matthew 10:28)
…feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican or live in America. Just as the prophets in the OT warned Israel that they were not safe just because they lived in the land of Israel, so we are not safe just because we wear the label Christian or because some people persist in calling us a “Christian nation.”
(Matthew 7:21, Amos 6:1)
…do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don’t have to trust God if something unexpected happens- they have their savings account. They don’t need God to help them- they have their retirement plan in place. They don’t genuinely seek out what life God would have them live-they have life figured and mapped out. They don’t depend on God on a daily basis-their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn’t look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God.
(Luke 12:16-21, Hebrews 11)
…probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren’t very different from your typical unbeliever. They equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn’t be more wrong.