Are you lukewarm?

June 26, 2008

I just picked up a book by Francis Chan entitled, Crazy Love. We’ve spoken about Francis Chan before on this blog. He is a man that is passionate for God, His Word and for believer’s lives to reflect the God we profess to believe and follow.

In Chapter four of his book, he challenges believers to examine themselves as 2 Cor. 13:5 states, “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course you fail the test?

A great way to examine yourself is by comparing your life with the parable of the soils. What kind of soil are you? Most want to say the good soil if you are a “Christian.” Chan challenges each of us to think that we might just be the soil in the thorns – being choked out by all kinds of vices. Thorny soil depicts the halfhearted, lukewarm, and partially committed. The church of Laodicea was thorny soil – happy to claim to be “Christian” but lukewarm in every respect. And what was God’s indictment concerning the church in Laodicea? To spit them out like vomit – God was completely disgusted by them.

Are you a lukewarm Christian like the church at Laodicea. Francis Chan gives 18 examples of what a lukewarm person looks like and then compares that person to what Scripture calls a genuine believer to look like. Do they characterize you? Are you in thorny soil?

1.  Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe “good Christians do, so they go. (Isaiah 29:13)

2.  Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church…as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so. After all, God loves a cheerful giver, right? (1 Chronicles 21:24; Luke 21:1-4)

3. Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives (Luke 6:26; Rev. 3:1; Matthew 23:5-7).

4.  Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it; they’re merely sorry because GOd is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one (John 10:10; Romans 6:1-2).

5.  Lukewarm people are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such ation is for “extreme” Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call “radical” what Jesus expected of all His followers (James 1:22; James 4:17; Matthew 21:28-31).

6.  Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion (Matthew 10:32-33).

7.  Lukewarm people gauge their morality or “goodness” by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satisfied that while they aren’t as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street (Luke 18:11-12).

8.  Lukewarm people say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, a part of their lives. But only a part. They give Him a section of their time, their money, and thoughts, but He isn’t allowed to control their lives (Luke 9:57-62).

9.  Lukewarm people love God, but they do not love Him with all their heart, soul, strength. They would be quick to assure you that they try to love God that much, but that sort of total devotion isn’t really possible for the average person; it’s only for pastors and missionaries and radicals (Matthew 22:37-38).

10.  Lukewarm people love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love of others is typically focused on those who love them in return, like family, friends, and other people they know and connect with. There is little love left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, whose kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable. Their love is highly conditional and very selective, and generally comes with strings attached (Matthew 5:43-47; Luke 14:12-14).

11.  Lukewarm people will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money and energy they are willing to give (Luke 18:21-25).

12.  Lukewarm people thinik abou tlife on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focused on today’s to-do list, this week’s schedule, and next month’s vacation. Rarely, if ever, do they intently consider the life to come. Regarding this, C.S. Lewis wrote, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this” (Philippians 3:18-20; Colossians 3:2).

13.  Lukewarm people are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rearelyconsider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. They are quick to point out, “Jesus neer said money is the root of all evil, only that the love of money is.” Untold numbers of lukewarm people feel “Called” to minister to the rich; very few feel “called” to minister to the poor (Matthew 25:34, 40; Isaiah 58:6-7).

14.  Lukewarm people do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They want to tdo the bare minimum, to be “good enough” without it requiring to much of them. They ask, “How far can I go before it’s considered a sin?” instead of “How can I keep myself pure as a temple of the Holy Spirit?” They ask, “How much do I have to give?” instead of “How much can I give?” They ask, “How much time should I spend praying and reading my Bible? instead of “I wish I didn’t have to go to work, so I could sit here and read longer!” (1 Chronicles 29:14; Matthew 13:44-46).

15.  Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God (1 Timothy 6:17-18; Matthew 10:28).

16.  Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America. Just as the prophets in teh Old Testament warned Israel that they were not safe just because they lived in the land of Israel, so we are not safe just because we wear the label Christian or because some people persist in calling us a “Christian nation” (Matthew 7:21; Amos 6:1)

17.  Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They dont have to trust God if something unexpected happens-they have their savings account. They don’t need God to help them – they have their retirement plan in place. They don’t genuinely seek out what life God would have them live – they have life figured and mapped out. THey don’t depend on God on a daily basis – their refrigerators are ful and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn’t look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God (Luke 12:16-21; Hebrews 11).

18.  Lukewarm people probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren’t very different from your typical unbeliever. They equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn’t be more wrong (Matthew 23:25-28).


~ Drew

3 Responses to “Are you lukewarm?”

  1. David Grimm said

    This commentary has been so helpful to me. I want others not to be decieved by merely attending church or other religious activities.

  2. How crazy! I just started a blog after I read Crazy Love and had the very same questions and concerns. I asked my Christian friends whether or not God was speaking to believers when He wants to spit them out of His mouth for being lukewarm, so thank you for helping me confirm this! I’m all about working in missions to bring non-believers to a relationship with the Lord, but I think there’s a bigger problem with those in the church! I want to encourage other believers to stop living this so-called ‘Christian’ life (more like a Christian bubble) and to go out and truly live the abundant life that God has called for us by giving it all up to Him. Just like in Crazy Love, it’s crazy to live a ‘normal’ life where you go to church every Sunday and serve once in a while, where it should be normal to live a radical life of living completely on faith and moving wherever God tells you to go. Thanks for the encouragement here on your website! PRESS ON! :o)

  3. Hi. Initial I need to say that I genuinely like your webpage, just found it the past week but I’ve been following it sometimes since then.

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