The Dangers of Being Lukewarm

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.
(Revelations 3:15-16, NIV).

“Do you really love her?”

The counselor spoke with such firmness that the tension can be felt across the hall.

“I… I don’t know.”

He shivered with confusion. He looked to the corners of the room in search for an appropriate response. The tension within the room heightened.

The counselor thought for a while.

“Then maybe you should take a break. Do not contact her for a week.”

“But… I can’t!” He leaped out of his chair in exclamation. “I… I will be busy till Saturday and I cannot wait 2 days more than that!”

The counselor giggled for a little bit before trying to maintain her composure.

“I guess, you don’t really love her after all.” She paused with a sigh. “You’re only using her the way she is using her to satisfy both of your innate desire to be loved.”

I was with the counselor watching the entire saga unfold when the verse about Jesus spitting out the “lukewarm” from His mouth surfaced in my head. For the longest time, I have been trying to wrap my mind around why would Jesus do that; why would He “spit you out of my mouth” the people who are “neither cold nor hot”. They are the ones who serve Him as well, they are the ones who love Him and proclaim He is Lord [1], just why would He spit them out of His mouth?

People who are lukewarm never loved God to begin with.

Then it dawned on me that it is because they never loved Him to begin with. Like the boy who used his relationship to occupy his time and fulfill his needs to be loved, there might be people who followed Jesus for personal gain. Jesus personally rebuked a group of followers for following Him not for personal salvation nor for love towards God, but “because you ate the loaves and had your fill” (John 6:26, NIV).

It is for personal earthly gain that many people followed Jesus. They wanted nothing else except to be fed with “bread” in which they do not need to work for [2]. But Jesus had something else in mind. Jesus wanted to offer Himself as the “bread of life” (John 6:48, NIV) that “anyone may eat and not die” (John 6:50, NIV).

The fundamental truth presented here is the love of Jesus for the people. The love so great that He is willing to offer His body to be eaten, and His blood to be drank, so that people may remain in Christ as Christ dwells in them (John 6:54, 56).

However, on hearing this, many followers deserted Him and “no longer followed Him” (John 6:66, NIV). They were seeking personal fulfillment and personal gain more than anything else. They outwardly appear as if they “loved Jesus”, but inwardly, they only want to be able to eat their fill.

“People are getting together in relationships or entering marriages, not because they truly love or care for the other party, but because they wanted to have certain needs fulfilled.”

I figure a similar phenomenon is happening in the relationships of today. People are getting together in relationships or entering marriages, not because they truly love or care for the other party, but because they wanted to have certain needs fulfilled.

Men are entering relationships because of a certain emptiness that needs to be filled. They looked for comfort in the beauty of women and the accompaniment that they bring. Likewise, women enter relationships because men can fulfill certain needs to help them feel more secure. Men became objectified alongside the accessories women dress with.

Popular culture indoctrinates the youths with false values of relationships and marriages.

Such are the teachings of popular culture, indoctrinating the youth with false values of relationships and marriages, throwing them into confusion about what “love” truly is, and pointing to them the lies that told them that “love” is something that can be felt if someone does something for them or fulfill their needs.

Here’s a quick look at modern popular music to show you what I’m talking about:

“It’s a beautiful night,
We’re looking for something dumb to do.
Hey baby,
I think I wanna marry you.”
 – “Marry You” by Bruno Mars

He’s like my Cloe shoes
Betsey bag
Oh he’s cute
He’s like my Marc Jacobs chain
Prada shades
What’s his name?
He’s my he’s my he’s my he’s my
Latest accessory”
– “Accessory” by Jordyn Taylor

The total degradation of human relationships and marriage made it almost impossible to reconcile the fact that love in itself is a sacrificial one rather than a means for personal fulfillment.

I think we can draw a certain parallel here between our earthly relationships and our relationship with Christ – are we lukewarm in these relationships?

Do we truly love those we said we love? Or is “love” just an excuse for us to get what we want? Is their devotion to us a substitute for something that we’re yearning for?

I think there is nowhere else to learn “love” other than from the love between God the Father and God the Son. God the Father loved His Son, so does God the Son loved the Father. God the Son loved the world because it is the very work of The Father. The salvation of the cross is hence, the epitome of love that God the Son expressed to His Father.

“Christ loved the Father. Christ also saw the love of the Father in the world that He has created for Him. For the love towards the Father, Christ loved the world.”

Paul described this loving relationship in Philippians 2:5-11. In it, Paul wrote about Christ’s obedience to the Father to the point of death, and response of God the Father to Christ’s work. Note that in these verses, Paul showed the love of Christ through His obedience towards the Father.

Christ loved the Father. Christ also saw the love of the Father in the world that He has created for Him. For the love towards the Father, Christ loved the world.

Paul urges us to have the same mindset as Jesus Christ in our earthly relationships with one another (Philippians 2:5). How? We are to see the love of the Father in the people around us. God loved them. And because God loved them, we must love them also. And for those we proclaim that we love exclusively, we must all the more treat them with utmost respect knowing that we are both heirs of the gracious gift of life (1 Peter 3:7).

“To be lukewarm is to view relationships, marriages, and families as something that is lesser than what God intends it to be.”

To be lukewarm is exactly what the world preaches to us in our day and age. To view relationships, marriages, and families as something that is lesser than what God intends it to be. People break up and leave each other the moment they are unable to fulfill their needs. That was exactly what happened to Jesus when He proclaimed that He is the bread of life (John 6:66).

To be lukewarm is to reject our birthright – the very promise that God has promised to give us. For a single meal, Esau gave up his inheritance and God saw this as a godless and sexually immoral act (Hebrews 12:16).

To be lukewarm in our relationships with one another is hence, to devalue the sacrifice that others have done for us, as well as to demean and objectify the person as a whole. The “love” that we claim that we have for that person is hence, not love. Rather, the person is only a means for us to reach the ends that we have set for ourselves.

“To be lukewarm towards God meant that we knew God, but we neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him.”

To be lukewarm in our relationship with Christ meant that we devalue the ultimate sacrifice that Christ has done for us on the cross. It too meant we demean and objectify God the Son as a whole. To be lukewarm towards God meant that we knew God, but we “neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him” (Romans 1:21, NIV).

To be lukewarm meant we place ourselves in the center of the universe and disregard everyone around us, including God. And this, to God, is disgusting – so disgusting that “I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Footnotes:

[1] – Matthew 7:21, NIV – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven”

[2] – John 6:33-34, NIV – Jesus said, “For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

Picture taken from Pixabay.com

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