Did you watch ‘Survivor’ when it first came out? They’d throw 20ish people into a couple campsites on a remote island, give them a little rice and some bamboo, and see if they could survive for a couple months. Every so often, the ‘tribes’ would compete in challenges for rewards and to see who had to vote someone off the island.
One challenge they always did in the early seasons of Survivor was to make the contestants eat gross things native to the location where they were filming. They’d compete to see who could down things like bug larvae, grubs, grotesque insects, and other slimy, stinky, and disgusting items as fast as possible. It still makes me throw up in my mouth a little, remembering the difficult time some of those poor folks had trying to stomach such unfamiliar ‘food.’ They’d gag and wretch and many would ‘lose it’ on national television as they tried to ‘survive.’
Some people have stronger stomachs than others. But most people have certain things that we just can’t quite handle. We avoid those things because usually just the thought makes us want to…well, you get the picture. I don’t know what it is for you, but I bet there’s something that makes you want to throw up.
For Jesus, it was water…lukewarm water to be exact. At least that’s what He told the people in the church in a town called Laodicea.
On the map, Laodicea was right in-between two cities known for their fresh springs. To the southeast was Colossae, known for its freezing cold springs, and to the north was Hierapolis, famous for its hot springs. Laodicea was in the middle. Jesus used the facts of nature and geography to highlight to the Christians in Laodicea that they can’t just live ‘in the middle’ in their spiritual lives.
Revelation 3:15-16 “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.”
Yikes! Jesus knew how great water was when it was really hot or really cold. But lukewarm? No thanks. Hot or cold are useful. Lukewarm, ‘in the middle’ spirituality is useless. In fact, it appears to make Jesus sick!
But that’s not the end of the story for the Laodiceans. A few lines later in that same letter, Jesus encouraged them to invest their lives in things that would last for eternity. He urged them to repent. And then He described a scene to them of Him standing at the door of their hearts, knocking, hoping and praying that they would open up their lives to Him, inviting Him in! He loved them, and He cared enough about them to confront their lackadaisical spirituality so He could once again enjoy a close relationship with them.
What about you? Maybe this question seems a little uncouth, but does your spiritual life make Jesus want to hurl? Is it tepid, weak, and uninspiring? The good news is that Jesus loves you enough to always provide forgiveness and hope as you repent, open your life to Him and invite Him in!
And then, don’t just hang out ‘in the middle,’ but go all out in your relationship with Jesus! Love God with all of your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength. Love people like Jesus does. And always be learning and growing as you follow Him.
Don’t be a lukewarm Christian - it makes Jesus sick!