“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. So because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:15)
These words of Jesus to the Church of Laodicea are a shot across the bow of any complacency creeping into our lives as Christians. God calls us to be holy as he is holy. Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount offered the Beatitudes as a path to that holiness. He says if we are meek and humble in spirit, mourn for our sins and the sins of others, show mercy, are pure in heart, and hunger for righteousness, we will be blessed. We will be comforted, shown mercy, see the face of God, and the kingdom of God will be ours. (Mt. 5:3-12) This is an offer we should not refuse.
A few summers ago I took my name off a Saturday volunteers list in a Christian jail ministry for July and August in order to preserve the weekends for boating with family and friends. God might have worked out the schedule if I had let him, but I pre-empted the choice. I was neither seeking God nor asking what he wanted me to do in this matter.
I can relate to Paul’s statement, “For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.” (Rom.7:15) Living out the Beatitudes by our own will and determination is very difficult, but with God’s grace through the power of the Holy Spirit, the saints have shown us it is possible.
Past sins are not a bar to sainthood. St. Paul was a persecutor of the early church, standing by and sanctioning the murder of Stephen. St. Peter denied three times that he knew Jesus. St. Augustine is reported to have lived a rather hedonistic life, fathering a son from a woman he lived with for many years before he experienced his conversion. Yet, all of them chose to give up following their own wills and seek God’s will instead. Sainthood is determined by our actions today, not yesterday.
Yet, it is our sinful nature, particularly pride and sloth, that war against the Beatitudes becoming the fabric for our daily choices. In our pride we seek to substitute our will for God’s. In our sloth we become indifferent to the needs of others and lose our passion to seek God in all things.
While God is forgiving and merciful, his desire and call for us is neither casual nor trivial. The last thing we should want is to become distasteful to Jesus.
Are we intentional in living out our Christian faith or “lukewarm?”