Revelation 3:15 “(to the church at Laodicea) I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”
Here again the Lord is taking one of the seven churches of the ancient world to task. In this case, it is the church at Laodicea. There are two points of contention the Lord points out in this passage:
- The church was neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm. What does this mean? When a church is passionate about the Lord it burns hot with the fire of the Holy Spirit. There is great intensity to its life and witness. A dead church would be cold, as a corpse is cold. This particular church was neither. It was going through the motions, but likely making little impact for the Kingdom of God. Why was this?
- v.17 tells us that the church had experienced some material prosperity and, in the process, had become complacent. There is often a passion borne of desperation among God’s people. Desperate people are keenly aware of their vulnerability. They place their entire trust in the Lord because there is nowhere else to turn. However, once the crisis has passed (a blessing from God), it’s easy for God’s people to go back to our old ways.
I live in a suburb of Dallas that is, by any global standard, wealthy. If you live in the U.S. or Canada or Western Europe you live in comparative wealth too. We don’t often think of ourselves as wealthy, but we are. If you doubt this, travel to a rural area of just about any developing country and you’ll understand. Poverty around here means you have no home Internet. Real poverty is when you have no food.
Now, I’m grateful for whatever material prosperity I have, but I often wonder if I’m not growing complacent in my walk with the Lord. Am I growing “lukewarm”? Is the Lord front and center for me, or is he an after-thought? If the Lord were here to offer his opinion, would he agree with my assessment?
Our practice of meeting together via this blog is one way you and I can fight spiritual complacency. We start the day in the Word of God and remind ourselves of our first and greatest need, which is our need for the power and presence of God. All else pales in comparison. If you’re not sure this is true, life will soon expose the futility of depending on “stuff”. Trust me on this.
Lord Jesus, we know we need you, but there are times when we let other things become a priority over our time with you. We get too busy to study your Word, or pray, or worship, or give, or serve others in your name. Give us grace to burn with love and devotion to you – and avoid lukewarm complacency. We ask this in your precious name. Amen.