The previous night during House Church, we were studying Matthew 25 that describes the story of the ten bridesmaids, five of them who are termed ‘wise’ and the other five, ‘foolish’. The wise ones had prepared for a long night with extra oil for their lamps, while the foolish had not. These foolish girls were the bridesmaids, they were also supposed to be part of the wedding. But because they took it for granted (for whatever good or perfectly justifiable reason), the story ends with the them being rejected.
This story spoke volumes to me! Over time I have realised that the greatest danger I’ve personally faced is not always falling prey to sin. It’s that I’ve taken my relationship with God for granted.
We think that becoming callous, or lazy, or cold hearted happens overnight. However it doesn’t. We think it’s the ones that are newcomers to Christ that find it difficult to relate and align with God. However it isn’t. It’s the seasoned believers that find themselves in the danger of being neither hot nor cold. Let’s hear what Jesus warns those kind of people.
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth!”
Now mind you, this is not Jesus speaking in the Old Testament days under the law that we should perceive it to be not applicable to us, nor is this Jesus speaking about the unbelievers or those who live their lives in direct rebellion against God. This is Jesus speaking about the church that wouldn’t pursue a real, authentic relationship with Him on a continual basis!
Let me also point out that the purpose of this post is not to leave you feel condemned and judged. Instead, it is to open your eyes to God’s heart of love, with a desire for you to be wholly involved in this relationship that He has created you for. And, I am not writing to you as one who has attained this level of perfection, but as one who is continuing to lean on the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit to continue to grow deeper in my personal relationship with God.
From my personal experience of being sucked into the lukewarm quicksand that slowly threatens to throttle our relationship with God time and time again, I have felt that there are external signs of it from personal behaviour patterns. So if I see some of them in me, it should cause an alarm bell to go off in my spirit, wondering if I am falling prey to the lukewarm spirit.
Let me share some of them with you. Please feel free to agree or disagree or even add more in the comments section at the end of the post!
1. Lack of Personal Discipline
This is a big one! We so often push away disciplines of prayer, bible reading, fasting, and more, saying that it’s being legalistic, eventually ending up in a lifestyle that’s absolutely devoid of any solid foundations. In fact, Jesus Himself had personal disciplines. Despite being busy, despite being tired, He would be up in the morning and away by Himself so He could commune with His Father in heaven. How often do we live our life with intentionality and with disciplines to guard our footsteps?
When we are persistent with our disciplines, it develops into a duty, and when we succeed in being faithful in our duty, they become the greatest delight of our lives! So it goes from discipline to duty to delight! You will reach a time that you begin to enjoy your prayer time so much that you can’t miss it for anything in the world. But don’t wait for that to happen, start praying right now, and you will begin to see the fruit of being disciplined.
Lack of personal discipline is a huge red flag when it comes to being lukewarm.
2. Drop in Church Attendance/Involvement
I don’t mean this to only be your usual show-your-face-during-church-time Sunday routine. This could also be your lack of desire for fellowship with God’s family. I was recently reading a news article about this young man who committed suicide, and it mentioned how he had no interest to visit his home or family for a long time. When your soul is sucked into loneliness, you end up making the most unwise choice or decision.
Being in bad, or even neutral, company is no replacement for our need to be with God-loving people. It doesn’t mean you disconnect with all the people of the world. It means that you continue to come back home where you get energised, encouraged and equipped to face the world and even bless it.
If you don’t have a desire to go to church or to be involved in what God is doing in your church, for whatever good, bad or ugly reasons you might have, it’s high time that you get your heart checked for a lukewarm spirit!
3. No Tears or Emotional Connect
When was the last time you cried? When was the last time you felt the need to be emotional? I am not saying that not being emotionally swayed is bad. But your tears are a sign of a broken and a tender heart. God wouldn’t want to use a stone-cold heart. In fact, the one reason Jesus saw so many awe-inspiring miracles during his time on earth was because of his compassion for people. You will see the same emotional connect that Jesus had with the Father during his times of prayer.
If you have lost your tears, I cannot give you a shortcut to experience them again! You will surely have to soak in the presence of God till your heart melts and He restores your emotions to its right place. My tears are meant to wipe the feet of Jesus, not to beg sympathy from the world or to solely express my grief.
Tears that are spent at His feet are signs of a worship-filled alabaster jar, broken to love Jesus! [ClickToTweet]
And a lack of tears are definitely a sign of lukewarmness creeping into the heart.
4. Absence of Passion for Ministry
Another one of the signs of lack of love for God is that your love for people around you will also decrease. Which means that you wouldn’t be equally excited about sharing Jesus with anyone else. You wouldn’t be that excited to be part of missions or even financially support missions anymore.
Everything that you did earlier, will look like a burden to you now. There could be various reasons for it, but the primary reason would definitely be that you are no longer passionate about the things that God is passionate about. That happens when your love for God grows cold. If you are facing this, my suggestion would be that you would grow in your desire for God, and the passion for ministry will automatically follow.
If there are signs of lukewarmness in your ministry for people, make sure to surrender yourself to the love of God, so that He can fill you overflowing enough to impact people around you!
5. Reliance on and Pursuit of Earthly Possession
I need not explain this a lot because this happens to all of us. When we are not able to connect with God, we immediately fix our eyes on visible things, natural things, and things that are just temporary. When we don’t have our heart fixed on the beauty of His holiness, the things of this world will grow strangely brighter and more attractive!
If you are stuck in that routine of going to work and continuing to pursue physical well-being and prosperity with all that you are doing with your life, my prayer for you is that you will have an in-depth encounter with Jehovah Jireh, who provides for all your needs and even desires to give you so much of physical and financial blessing that you don’t have enough room for it.
Jesus explained it well in the parable of scattering of the seeds.
The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.
May that never be our story. The greatest weapon against lukewarmness is to align yourself with people that are on fire for God. Find someone you can do life with. And you will see how your heart also grows hotter by the day and catches the same fire for God!