So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
- Hebrews 13:6
Have you ever heard of a lukewarm Christian? Chances are, you are probably familiar with this term. But are you aware of what it means?
A lukewarm Christian is simply a person who claims to be a Christian, but only follows Christ or the teachings of Christ under certain conditions - meaning that their devotion to God is conditional.
Here are some signs of a lukewarm Christian:
Lukewarm Christians are scared to state any of their beliefs - especially if those beliefs go against the popular opinion
Lukewarm Christians become embarrassed when someone close to them publicly proclaims their faith (or prays in public)
Lukewarm Christians decide for themselves what to believe in the Bible
Lukewarm Christians often believe in the prosperity gospel
Lukewarm Christians tend to be fearful overall
Lukewarm Christians are easily swayed
Lukewarm Christians do not find volunteering or serving others important
Lukewarm Christians are sometimes indifferent to sin
Here's the kicker: I know about lukewarm Christianity because I struggle with being a lukewarm Christian. For many years, I was terrified to admit my faith, beliefs, or personal opinions. I feared the mob; sometimes I still do. I used to be embarrassed to pray in public. I was extremely fearful and anxious. I hated serving at church and refused to do it for many years. I believed in the prosperity gospel and expected God to do things for me.
Revelations 3:13-22 talks about lukewarm Christians:
"I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference."
This is a call from John for the church of Laodicea to turn away from selfishness, indifference to sin, and fearfulness of those who need the truth.
When this was written, it was believed that Laodicea had wooden pipes that were engineered by the Romans. These pipes ran for around five miles, and gave hot water to the surrounding area. However, because the water ran for several miles through a wooden pipe, by the time it got to the Laodiceans, the water was lukewarm. So this message that John wrote to them would have hit home. The water the Laodiceans received was not cold nor hot, but lukewarm - good for nothing. The water wasn't cold and fresh, ready to quench their thirst on a hot day. The water wasn't hot, ready to be cooked with or bathed in. Rather, the water nasty. Not undrinkable, but nasty nonetheless.
You see, John writes that those who are lukewarm are good for nothing. And before you get offended, this statement actually makes a bit of sense. Think about it: lukewarm Christians are unable to move forward in their faith. They are unable to tell the truth, even when someone needs it. They choose survival over over servanthood. In all honesty, when it comes to doing anything about spreading the gospel, they are pretty useless.
As Christians, we should strive not to be lukewarm, but to be bold. How do we do that?
1. Pray and seek God
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. - 1 Chronicles 16:11
Prayer is the most obvious answer to this question. The Bible says to pray and seek God. He gives us His strength when we need it the most.
2. Just do it
You might be wondering how this is an answer to the question. But honestly is a great answer. If you want to tell someone the truth, just do it. If you want to share your values or beliefs, just do it. If you want to spread the gospel, just do it. Don't get in your head! Don't think about it too much. Sharing your beliefs isn't as scary as the devil wants you to believe it is. Most people will not care what your beliefs are. Some might. But perhaps one person will be blessed by something you said, and any backlash you may or may not have received, will be worth it.
3. Read stories about emboldened Christians
One of my favorite books of the Bible is Acts. It is filled with stories of courageous Christians who were emboldened for Christ. My favorite story is from Acts 14, where Paul is stoned and dragged out of the city, left for dead. But he wasn't dead. He gets up and heads straight back into the city where he was stoned only moments before - completely unafraid. Stories like these fill me with courage. After all, Paul was just a human same as you and I. If he could be emboldened like that through God's power, certainly we can if we want it.
4. Don't dread studying the Bible
Not only are we supposed to pray and seek God, but we are supposed to spend time in His Word. It is available to us for free. Unlike many other countries, we can look at the Bible any time we want! We should take advantage of that while we can. Some day, we might regret not doing that.
Reading the Bible doesn't have to be hard. In fact, it can be very enjoyable and easy! Some ideas for spending more time in God's Word could include listening to a biblical podcast (like the P40 Ministries Podcast *hint *hint), trying out some different Bible studies by yourself or with your friends, finding a study group at your local church, or even reading the Bible on an app while you are in the bathroom!
Friends, in conclusion, I want everyone to be more bold in Christ. I have personally been learning how to be a bolder person in general, rather than a fearful one. I have learned the value of serving others. Over this past year, since learning these things, I have never felt more joyful! I want everyone to feel this joy of the Lord, too.
Thanks so much for the courage you freely give us. With that courage comes joy. Help us as we go forward as a nation; we need You. We ask that You forgive us for being lukewarm. Rather, help us to be emboldened to speak truth to those who need it.
In Jesus's name,