This is always a touchy subject, because many people take offense to it. I think one of the reasons is the conviction they feel. I’m not here to make you feel bad, but I’m not here to make you feel comfortable and tell you how to easily live the Christian life. There will be things you aren’t thrilled about, but we were called to live radical and on the edge of this world, not of it. I’m going to be honest, I used to think I could just give half of myself to the Lord. It never worked, I never felt strong in my relationship with Him, and I just felt like a hypocrite most of the time. I got on these “Jesus Highs” where I would read my Bible every night and pray for an hour. But these highs only lasted a couple weeks and then they were over. It left me feeling empty. Since I’ve made the commitment to change, my lifestyle, my emotions, my attitude, my ego, everything has changed. It sure has been a long time coming, and who knows other than God how long it’ll be until it’s over. But I know I’ll never be the same, and it’s awesome to know where I came from (being lukewarm) and compare it to where I’m at in my relationship with God now. That’s ultimately why I’m writing this, so you can figure out where you’re at, and explain what lukewarm living is. Just know that if you are lukewarm, you don’t have to be. God can change your heart.
In Luke chapter 8, Jesus speaks to the crowd in parables. His reasoning was the people who weren’t genuinely listening wouldn’t get it. Now if we relate this to our life, many people go to church and call themselves “Christians” just for the status. Just because they go to church doesn’t mean they’re listening to the message, it doesn’t mean they’re getting any of it. We can’t just go to church because we think we have to, sit there idol and unaware, and then expect to understand the gospel. We really have to be there for Jesus, we have to be hungry for the Word of God. These lukewarm people attend church regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they think “good Christians” do, so they go. Jesus in chapter 8 of Luke, as we were talking about a moment ago, just wasn’t too interested in people faking it.
Lukewarm people tend to come to God only when it’s convenient for them. If life is good, they don’t need to pray, they don’t need to communicate with God. At least that’s how they live, some without realizing it. I know for me, I used to only came to God when I was struggling. It’s important to come to God in any situation. Wether we’re praising Him, praying for understanding, ect. Communication is vital.
We have to be okay with laying down everything to have God. God wants everything, not just a little. We can’t want God, plus a bunch of other stuff. That’s being lukewarm, wanting some of God, but some of the world. This worldly stuff has nothing of value for us. Too much of the good life ends up being toxic, deforming us spiritually. Has your relationship with God changed your daily way of living? Do people see Jesus in you? Do they see the evidence of Christ living in you? Or are you just half and half, living for Christ, yet clinging to energy, money, relationships, ect.? Can you agree with Paul that you “want to know Christ and the power of resurrection and fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death”? (Phil. 3:10) The verse can’t just stop after the word resurrection, which many of us would like. That would be making Jesus comfortable for us, that would mean Jesus didn’t suffer. Lukewarm means just wanting to be “Godly enough”.
Lukewarm people tithe, but only if it doesn’t affect their way of living. If it’s safe for them to give, they give. They only tithe what’s comfortable. If they won’t have enough for that Xbox game after church, or that Victoria’s Secret sweatshirt, (because we all know this world is expensive) they won’t give. 1 Chron. 21:24 tells us, “King David replied to Araunah, ‘No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”
The lukewarm don’t really care about being saved from their sins, they just want salvation. They don’t hate the sin, they hate the punishment. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
We are all, every single one of us, messed-up, because we’re human. No one is totally immune to all that I listed above, but there’s a difference between being sporadically characterized by these things, and being truly changed, being radically transformed, and living on the edge of the world for Christ.