Revelation 5:14-22 tells us the story of the Laodicean Church – the lukewarm church. Lukewarm means neither hot nor cold. This means the person has not at any point completely denied Christ, but neither is this person living a life committed to Christ! They have faith in name only. Their faith never or seldom manifests in any action.
We should actually not speak of a lukewarm Christian, because it is our faith in and our love for the Lord Jesus Christ that cause others to call us Christian! True Christians are committed to live for and follow Christ – heart, soul and mind. Our Lord has called us to be totally committed to Him. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10: 37-38.
You want to be sure that you run your race of faith in Christ with passion and zeal. So, is it possible to spot when you are at risk of becoming lukewarm in your relationship with the Lord? What would be some warning signs to look out for?
Signs of a lukewarm Christian.
You have probably become a lukewarm Christian when one or more of the following are evident in your life:
- Your love and adoration for God has started to fade. You have lost your desire to spend time with Him in prayer, in worship, in the Bible, or to serve Him.
- You claim to be a follower of Jesus, but you live as though you are able to help yourself and do not need God.
- You attend church, but are content with your current lifestyle and rarely apply what you learn from teaching and preaching.
- For the most part, you are no longer experiencing the conviction of the Holy Spirit in your heart about areas in your life that are not in line with the Word. You become distant and apathetic towards other believers – especially those who are ‘on fire for the Lord’. You do not hear the voice of the Holy Spirit any longer.
- You become increasingly fascinated by the teachings of philosophers or those who debate spiritual matters, and are caught up in their viewpoints so much that you do not even consider or study what the Bible says anymore. These philosophies and ideologies become the foundations of your life choices, which are no longer Biblical.
- You like to worship mostly for the music, the atmosphere and the person leading it, rather than engaging with God and focusing on His person.
- You look for reasons why you do not have to go to church on Sundays.
- You have tried not to, but now feel largely disconnected from God. Come to think about it, you are actually unperturbed by this loss of connection with God.
A lukewarm Christian falls away slowly – compromise by compromise.
The lukewarm do not realise it
Revelation 3:17 says; “Because you say, I am rich, I have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…”
Sometimes when we have all our felt needs met, we can fall into the error of thinking we do not need God. This can lead us away from God’s truth until, eventually, we start making small compromises.
The reason being a lukewarm Christian is so dangerous, is that you grow accustomed to the idea that you should not offend others at all costs. You end up staying ‘neutral’ instead of speaking God’s truth in all circumstances. It is never acceptable to compromise your faith. Without realising it, you are giving the enemy a foothold in your life. When the Holy Spirit then wants to correct or re-align you with God’s purposes, you will most likely reject that correction.
A ‘cold’ Christian usually knows and understands that they have rejected God, but a lukewarm Christian falls away slowly, compromise by compromise. They do not realise their complacency. They often want to be a Christian, while still enjoying what the world has to offer.
Eventually you may find that you are living completely for yourself, following your own dreams and desires. You may even pursue these as a ministry – not from a passion for Christ, but as a favourable thing to do in the eyes of men.
Francis Chan said; “Lukewarm Christians don’t really want to be saved from their sins; they want to be saved from the consequences of their sins.”
Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it.”
He warns them again in Matthew 7:21: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.”
Complacency and compromise could be very costly. But there is hope found in Revelation 3:18-19: “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your wickedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.”
The only way to stop becoming cold towards God, is to repent.
Start moving in the opposite direction.
Turning your life around
To turn your life around requires that you stop going in one direction and start moving in the opposite direction. It will challenge you on every side. The Holy Spirit will prompt you to give up things you may have become accustomed to.
- Acknowledge that you need Jesus. Confess your self-sufficiency to Him. Humble your heart before Him. (Romans 3:23, 6:23).
- Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a desire to read your Bible again. Also, that He will touch your heart as you read, so that the passages will literally come alive in your spirit. Delight yourself in sound Biblical teaching. (Psalm 1:1-3)
- It is important to ask the Lord for His will regarding matters in your life. Pray for His wisdom and counsel to return to your life. (Proverbs 1:7)
- Deliberately set time aside to meet with God – where you can just be quiet, speak to Him and worship Him.
- Ask Him to help you love Him for who He is, rather than for what He can do for you. Although God loves answering our prayers, His greater desire is to have fellowship with us.
- Ask a friend who has a close walk with God, to pray with you once a week – helping you to set your ways right again.
Do not give up.
Seasons of feeling disconnected from God will come in your life. The important thing to remember is to return to God in all your ways. Each time. Do not give up.