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Turn up the heat
Neutralism is selling on ebay for a steal: all you have to do is stomach a glass of warm water on a hot day, or use a cup of tepid water to brew your coffee. Can’t bear the thought? Neither can God when it comes to passive, ineffective Christianity.
“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. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” (Revelation 15-17)
Why is a God who is so merciful and loving, make such a seemingly harsh statement? For the very same reason that Jesus cursed the fig tree in Matthew 21:18-19; it bore no fruit.
If we are content to just go with the flow and blend into the crowd, we are in danger of stagnating in our walk with God. This no-man’s land of neither here nor anywhere is a favourite hangout for the enemy of our souls. It is here that he can keep us captive to the creature comforts that the world offers and our indifference to the things of God blinds us to our divine purposes within the body of Christ.
While we are deluded into thinking that our passivity is not hurting anyone, evil continues to thrive. We have freely received the undeserved gifts of salvation and mercy, yet we do not freely give it to the nations who are crying out in the wilderness. Gandhi once said: “I like your Christ, I don’t like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”
So how do Christians who were once fervent and burning with passion for Jesus, become cottoned with spiritual numbness? Our spiritual senses become deadened to the zeal of God because of the sinful suit that we are in. We become paralysed at the thought of holiness, choosing rather to live in sin and become Christian chameleons.
God says in Hosea 6:6 that His desire is for our loyalty, not our sacrifices, He wants us to know Him. If the state of being lukewarm is having a distant, vague impression of the immensity of God, then the place of all-consuming passion and spirit-filled living stems from being rooted in the word of God and being intimately connected in real relationship with Him.
While the scourge of HIV/AIDS kills the body, apathy chokes our God-given destinies. “Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?" He said to them, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” (Luke 13:23-24)
Sometimes we try to earn the love that we feel we don’t deserve. Or we stumble into sin and feel like we can’t go back to God and allow the accuser to keep us bound in fear and condemnation.
Listen: God called us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). He knows everything that you have done and even every mistake that you are still going to make! The good news: He still loves you, with an everlasting love – and is waiting for you to run back into His arms of grace.
First love recall
Remember when you first encountered Christ and was filled with an unfathomable sense of peace and love? Reading the bible was an essential daily experience and your heart pounded along with the prophets in the bible who were often defined as possessing a “fierce loyally to God and a burning heart of compassion.”
Don’t you want to love God the way that David did? He knew God so intimately that even when he sinned, he was able to repent immediately and ask God for restoration and a renewed spirit, desperately seeking to “restore the joy of his salvation” to him (Psalm 51). The middle of the road malaise is a place every Christian encounters on their individual journey from salvation to sanctification – just make sure you don’t apply for a green card!
Once you begin to appropriate the many promises of God over your life, you will soon begin to see the phenomenal rise in your spiritual temperature. As a Christian, we have a right to claim the spirit of power, love and sound mind as described in 2 Timothy 2:7. He is all we need to walk in victory and everything that we have been created to produce is only incubated in the heat of His love!
Turn up the heat
So how do we turn up the heat of our faith? When we perceive our desperate need for a saviour. This effectively means less emphasis on the bling, and increased focus on fervent faith. You’ve heard the saying: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” Our skills, accomplishments and material possessions mean nothing without God. “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but to lose his soul” (Matthew 16:26).
Colossians 3:2 encourages us to “set our minds on things above, not on earthly things. Dare to take up your cross and be the mighty man or woman of valour that God Himself has prepared you to be. Step out in faith and get ready for action. Like David who faced up to his Goliath to walk into his calling as giant-slayer and King, an exciting adventure awaits you!
It's never too late to rekindle the dormant flame within, so strike out in faith! Romans 12:10-12 shares the secret of keeping the fire of faith blazing: "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
Cheryl Ramurath is South Africa's Purple Brain. You can read more of her devotional material and articles by logging on to www.purplebrain.co.za