Is your faith lukewarm?

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:14–16)

The book of Revelation gives us something remarkable: seven “letters” from Jesus, delivered through John’s writing, to seven early churches. Each letter addresses contemporary issues in that church that either elicit praise or judgment from Jesus, often using imagery that would be familiar to that particular people. To one of those churches, the church in Laodicea, Jesus delivers this stunning word picture: your lukewarm commitment to me makes me want to vomit.

Laodicea is a city located near the Lycus River in what is now the country of Turkey. Up the road from Laodicea was Hierapolis, a city famous for its hot springs. Down the road was Colossae, well known for its cold drinking water. Unfortunately for Laodicea, by the time either water made its way into its city, it was lukewarm and nausea-inducing. And that, Jesus says to the Laodicean church, is what your faith feels like to me: a lukewarm liquid that makes me want to spit you out.

Jesus goes on to tell the Laodiceans that although they think they are rich and without need, they do not realize how poor and needy they actually are. Their material wealth has blinded them to their spiritual poverty and ineffective witness. He calls them to repent, to come to Him for true riches and an accurate perspective on themselves and their world. And then Jesus gives them this invitation: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20). Despite their materialism, their lukewarm commitment to Him, and their ineffective witness, Jesus is not done with them. The invitation still stands: repent, open the door of your heart and your church to me, and I will meet with you.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37 that the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Make no mistake, the desire of our God is not that you would be a good person doing nice things and following all the rules. His desire is that you would know and embrace the depth of His love for you, a love that was displayed on the cross as Jesus died in your place for your sins (Romans 5:6-8). And His desire is that His love would overflow out of you and return in a wholehearted devotion to Him and a sacrificial love for your neighbor.

Jesus’ invitation to the Laodiceans is offered to you as well. Repent of your lukewarm faith, open the door of your heart to Him, and ask Him to set your heart on fire with a world-changing love.
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