A couple weeks ago, I bought a salad. When I began to eat it, I knew something wasn’t right. It didn’t taste right. It didn’t even smell right, but I continued to eat the salad instead of returning it back to the restaurant or throwing it in the trash.
Nothing happened to me immediately or on the same day. (It’s the same way with sin. Sometimes we don’t feel the consequences or effects of sin immediately). But the day after I ate the salad, I began to have abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and chills. All of these things were happening because there was something in my body that shouldn’t have been there and it needed to come out.
A lot of times as Christians, we do what I did with the salad. We know something isn’t right or good. You’re not sure what is wrong, but you continue to stay in that relationship or you continue to do what you know isn’t good or right only to become sick – physically sick as well as soul sick and sin sick.
I should have taken heed to the signs – the smell and taste – because what I allowed to go in my body could have killed me. I experienced food poisoning, but the sin that we continue to do with our bodies is poison that can lead to destruction or even death.
If a bird sees a trap being set, it knows to stay away (Proverbs 1:17, NLT).
My prayer is that we do the same as that bird. If we are unsure or uncertain about something – if something doesn’t feel right or seem right, then just stop, pray, fast and ask for wisdom and understanding until God reveals what it is.
Don’t ignore the signs.
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue (vomit) you out of my mouth (Revelation 3:15-16).
Christ describes the condition of the church using three different types of temperatures – cold, hot and lukewarm. Some people believe that He was either addressing the unsaved and saved or the passive and active. So, what did Jesus mean by cold, hot and lukewarm?
Eight years ago, I tore the meniscus in my left knee. It was a small tear, but it caused a lot of pain and swelling. To treat this, I had to undergo arthroscopic surgery. To regain function of that knee, I had physical therapy following surgery. During therapy, I was given two choices of treatment – ice or heat. Although they don’t feel the same when applied, they are both beneficial. This reminds me of the importance of all of the gifts in the body of Christ. The eye is not the hand and the head is not the feet, but they still need each other to function properly (1 Corinthians 12:21).
The ice and heat are both important and they both treat pain, but they don’t treat every pain. You have to know which one to use for your situation. For example, you would use ice on a sprain. If you used heat, it could cause the swelling to increase. But my point is this: lukewarm was never an option. Had the therapist given me lukewarm therapy, it would have been useless and ineffective. It would not have treated my pain.
And this was the condition of the Laodicean church. They weren’t reaching anyone. They weren’t making a difference. They were only concerned with themselves. You say, ‘I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing’ and know not that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked (Rev 3:17). It seemed like after God blessed them, they forgot about Him and His people.
But I believe that God is going to allow certain things to happen this year to wake up the church. It is going to push the church to draw nearer to God, to get in her rightful place and to be about her Father’s business. It is going to cause those who are lukewarm to make a choice – to be either cold or hot. When you’re lukewarm, it’s not that you don’t love God, but you don’t love Him with all your heart – yet. It’s like a woman who accepts a marriage proposal, but never sets a date to become married.
But God needs us to get serious. Why? Because God wants His people free and the only thing that can make us free is the truth (John 8:32).
Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Love in truth (1 John 3:18).
Although there are a lot of people who go to church weekly, not all of them want to be the church. There will be those that want love, but don’t want truth. I’ve noticed lately that a lot of people have been apologizing because the truth offended some. I think some of them apologized out of fear – afraid of rejection, afraid of losing their fans/followers or afraid of losing money. Paul once asked the Galatian church, Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? (Galatians 4:16). Many of Jesus’ disciples (the church) walked with him no more because of the truth. Does this offend you? (John 6:61). People complained and people walked away, but Paul and Jesus never apologized for speaking truth.
When Paul was addressing the church’s responsibility toward society, he said, IF it is possible, live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18). Sometimes it will be hard, but that doesn’t mean we behave like the world. That doesn’t mean we go along to get along. People are stumbling (tripping while walking; making repeated mistakes) because they cannot see. Choose to be a light. It’s not enough just to speak with our words, but we must also speak with our lives. If you want to win them to Christ, it is going to take wisdom from God – so ask for it.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that gives to all men liberally and upbraids not, and it shall be given him (James 1:5).
He that wins souls is wise (Proverbs 11:30).
You will start to feel uncomfortable with things that you were once comfortable with, but don’t worry. That’s a good thing. Maybe you’ve been comfortable for too long. Maybe this will be the thing that causes you to ‘stir up the gift’ which is in you. God has a plan and He created you to be a part of His plan. Yes, fear will come, but know that fear does not come from God (2 Timothy 1:7). He doesn’t want us to be afraid of man or what they may do. In God have I put my trust. I will not be afraid what man can do to me (Psalm 56:11).
God wants to transform us from the Peter that denied Jesus and followed Him from a distance in fear to the Peter that walked in holy boldness – healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead and casting out devils. And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed (Romans 12:2). The caterpillar has to go through something before it turns into a butterfly, but after the transformation and growth, that butterfly is able to reach places that a caterpillar cannot. This is exactly what God desires to do in, for, through and with His people, but you must make up your mind.
Cold or hot.