Written by Craig Denison
The letter to the church in Laodicea found in Revelation 3 is one of the most convicting and hope-filled passages of Scriptures I’ve found. Convicting because I often feel like my picture should be next to the definition of lukewarm, and hope-filled because Revelation 3 contains the cure for my tepidity.
In Revelation 3:15-17 God says to this church, “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”
Whew. As much as I’d like to point the finger at this church I’ve never been to and thank God that I’m not a Laodicean, these words would have been no less true if this section of Scripture was entitled, “To the Church of Craig.”
I consistently find myself riding the fence separating the world from God’s kingdom. I lean one way or the other depending on what seems to offer me the best deal or the most fun. But in reality, I never fully enjoy either because satisfaction in the world and fulfillment in God are mutually exclusive. And have you ever gotten stuck at the top of a fence? It doesn’t feel great. In fact it would definitely be close to the bottom on my list of places I’d like sit down and take a load off.
Now I’d expect this letter to stop there. I read these verses and I just assume God would tell me to get my act together and get some zeal as if my local Christian bookstore bottled up zeal like an energy drink. I’d expect him to tell me to go on a 40 day fast, go on a mission trip, buy a ticket to some worship conference or fake it as if I could trick my heart into wanting him more.
But that’s not what God says at all. In fact, his cure for me being lukewarm looks entirely different. Revelation 3:19-20 says, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
The cure for my tepidity is not self-suffiiciency, but simply opening up the door of my heart to a good, loving Father who longs to meet with his lukewarm, rebellious, fence-riding son. God doesn’t leave me in a state of being lukewarm. He knows only in experiencing intimacy with him will my heart be lit on fire with passion and fervor. It has to be communion with him that causes my heart to burn.
God doesn’t run up to me and pull me off the fence. Rather he stands by me, beckoning me to plant both feet on the solid ground of his kingdom and experience life lived wholeheartedly with him.
Maybe you feel a little passionless today. Maybe you’ve lost some of your zeal for God. Receive the loving correction of your good Father. Open the door of your heart to a God who is already knocking, waiting for you to let him in that he might reignite the flame of your passion for him. You don’t have to fake it. God never asks us to fake it. Simply experience communion with God and let your affection for him be stirred naturally as he reveals his overwhelming, unconditional affection for you.