Have you heard the term, “Lukewarm Christian”? In the book Crazy Love, Francis Chan gives an extensive list of ‘lukewarm christian’ tendencies in life. For example, he writes, “Lukewarm people say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, a part of their lives. But only a part.” Or he says, “Lukewarm people 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.”
I’ve been thinking about this idea of lukewarmness for a while now. Lukewarm is a grey area. And I think us North American’s tend to create grey areas to justify ourselves and others. I think this term lukewarm is to justify ourselves and others, to make us feel better for not being 100%, sold-out, passionate for Christ. But the idea of a disciple being lukewarm is not Biblical as far as I understand.
But what is Biblical, is that we are either sold-out, passionate followers of Christ or we are not. Where do we find this? First, I think Jesus speaks to this very topic in Luke 14:34. Jesus talks about the cost of being a disciple, the cost of being a disciple is giving up EVERYthing. Jesus says He comes before everything. Before siblings, parents and spouses. Being His disciple requires a commitment, it requires committing everything you are and you have to Him. Putting Him first, loving Him with the greatest of devotion even to the greatest extreme. Is there anything lukewarm about that? No. There’s nothing lukewarm about complete devotion to Him. Dying to self, dying to this World, and living in Him. Back to verse 34, Jesus wraps up the whole ‘Cost of Being a Disciple’ talk by talking about salt. He says, “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?” If we are true disciples, if we are committed to following Him, if we give up everything for Him, then, we are salty. But, if we are not committed, if we do not give up everything to follow Him, we are not salty and therefore, useless to Him. In verse 35 Jesus actually says that the unsalty salt isn’t even dignified for the manure pile. I don’t see any grey area in there. Jesus does not talk about salty salt and kind of salty salt and unsalty salt. No, either you are useful to Jesus because you have given everything up to follow Him, or you are trash, worse than trash. It’s black and white, no grey, it’s harsh, but true.
Or how about Jesus’ famous words in Luke 11:23 when He says, “He who is not with me is against me…” Here, Jesus is defending himself against the Pharisees who accuse him of driving out demons in the name of Beelzebub, the prince of demons. First off, their logic is way off and Jesus calls them out on it. It makes no sense that the prince of demons would be involved in casting out the demons he placed. Anyway, Jesus admits with all this talk about demons that Satan is strong, that Satan is fully armed to fight. But Jesus says, there is a stronger One. And this is where He says, take a side. Do you want to fight on the side with the strong one or the stronger One? Consciously or unconsciously you take a side. Again, there is no middle ground, no room for lukewarmness. You are either on one side or the other. Which side are you on?
Well, if you can’t tell already, I’m reading through Luke, so here’s another verse in Luke that speaks to this idea. Luke 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Black and white, right? Either you serve God or you serve this world. I think this goes against what Francis Chan calls a lukewarm christian who loves Jesus but He is only a part of their life. If we truly love Jesus, can He only be a part? I don’t think so. We can’t serve Him one minute, or one day, Sunday, and serve the world the rest of the week. We can only have one master, we can only serve one, which one is it going to be?
And now, the most disturbing of all, check out Revelation 3:15-16. Jesus speaks to the church in Laodicea and says they are lukewarm. So, here is that word, lukewarm. But, lukewarmness means that you are neither hot or cold. You are neither a soothing, therapeutic hot spring, you are neither a fresh, cold, mountain spring water. You therefore make Jesus want to vomit. If you are neither hot nor cold, you are against Him, you are serving the world, you are not His disciple, you are not salty. It’s either one or the other, it’s black or white. Why make up this grey area to justify ourselves and our friends for not being 100% sold-out, passionate disciples of Christ. This grey area just means that you make Jesus want to vomit. And if you make Him want to vomit, you are not with Him.
The true desire of my heart is to be sold-out and passionate about being a student of Christ daily. Some days are easier, some days are harder. Being fully committed to Christ and His ways does not mean we don’t mess up and struggle, but it means we have our eyes on Him, we have our focus heavenward, we die daily to our self and ask to be filled up with Him. The desire of my heart is to live this life on earth right, right in His eyes. And, I want everyone, I want the people here in Puno, I want my loved ones back in the states to be sold-out, passionate and committed to walking with Him. I don’t want to make Jesus vomit and I don’t want you to make Him vomit either. So let’s stop making excuses! Let’s stop creating grey areas, let’s stop justifying things in the eyes of this world. Let’s start looking up, let’s step over that line from black to white, let’s be on the side of the stronger One and He will share the victory with us!