Thursday, April 21, 2016

What is there to be warm about?

Revelation 3:14-16
Revelation 3:14-16New International Version (NIV)
To the Church in Laodicea
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Do we really believe that what we profess to believe is really real, I mean really real?

I spent many years lost in addictions and during the last few years of that imprisonment I would have freely admitted to you that I “believed” I had a problem, but my actions were unchanged. I believed in my mind what was plain for me and others to see but that belief had not made it deep inside me, it had not penetrated the depths of my soul and so I remained in purgatory for a little while longer. Then I came into relationship with some people that forced me to fully ingest the truth about myself and the world around me and once that truth ceased to lay on the surface and sank deep into my inner most self I was then confronted fully with the truth and had no alternative but to allow that truth to change my actions.

The deep reality of our depravity as humans on this sin saturated planet can be illusive, hard to fully grasp. The effect it easily has on our minds and then on our actions can be hard for us to recognize because we are so surrounded by it and soaked in it. Being sinful beings living in a sinful world we can so easily lie to ourselves and put on a superficial disguise, professing words, going through motions and rituals, and even fooling ourselves about what we believe when our actions tell a different story.
We can also start out with a deep conviction and even having a profound spiritual experience that shakes us to the core of our being and then as we walk through life we focus our gaze on the routines and goals of this world, doubt, fear, and anxiety seep in and our belief begins to corrode like an old car sitting in field long forgotten about.

Our outward appearance hasn’t changed but inside, whether we know it or not, our lamp has grown very dim covered over with a layer of filth so thick the light can barely escape.

We might notice that we are not where we used to be spiritually but we shrug it off as “normal” and continue on with our ever increasing worldly life telling ourselves we are still doing better than some others around us or that we will make an effort to get back to where we once were as soon as we have time, after all it’s not like we don’t “Believe” anymore, right?

The Lord is not a subtle Master, we of this world have in many ways tried to ignore verses like this one and many others that just can’t be softened or interpreted in a way that please our itching ears. It is blunt and it is meant to be. The Lord tells the church of Laodicea, a rich and beautiful city that appears faithful, that even though you look well on the outside to everyone else I am about to reject you. Not because they have outwardly left the faith and completely rejected God , no, because they have let the world and it’s desire creep back in and corrupt their connection with Him and in turn they have gone warm. We of this world can become so busy keeping the outside of our dish clean we forget that inside has grown filthy, but the Lord knows and he sees our hearts, and no matter how much we wish there were a gray area that we could snuggle into and feel comfortable there just is no such place with God and He tells us that throughout His Word.

Satin does not always come with shouts and pleading like the salesman that he is, he also comes with gentile loving whispers that say “you don’t need to care so much, you don’t need to do so much, you deserve these things, no one else is doing this much.”

We begin to compare ourselves to others, and many times to those in the world that live for themselves and it begins to look appealing to us, our focus changes and we begin to look like those we are now focused on. Our gaze has fallen off Christ and onto his creation. Our worship has ceased to magnify God and begun to magnify the world.
Where has our belief gone? It has been stolen, but not without some consent on our part. By allowing our focus to fall from Christ we have removed our armor and laid it aside, we have opened the doors to our home and left it unsecured, we have issued to satin an invitation and opened our hearts to the corrosion that was once removed.
Remaining in Christ is a daily discipline, sometimes an hourly discipline, but it should be a joyous discipline, a wonderful love affair like no other that consumes you and sweeps you away, but the Lord will not hold us hostage in this love affair, we must employ the Spirit he has put in us by a continual effort to stay connected, to remain abiding in His love. When we make that effort the Lord comes to us stoking the fire that burns for Him reinvigorating us. He reminds us of who He is and in that who we are and that’s a lot to be excited about. How easily we can go through our day without even thinking about it.

The question is do we believe this, do we really believe down to the core of our being that Jesus is the Son of the living God, that He was sent here to give his life to defeat satin, defeat death, and purchase for himself a people that through abiding in his love would be drawn into him to live forever? Do we believe that the Father loves us so much He would choose us specifically before the creation of the world, that He loves us so much He would Himself suffer to save us, and that He would make us His children and coheirs with His Son, coheirs of an immense current Kingdom and His incredibly glorious Kingdom to come? Do we believe that we now have residing inside us the Holy Spirit of truth who is also God Himself that will come and counsel us, empower us, and renew us? Do we believe that as we die to ourselves daily we can then allow Jesus Christ Himself to come and live for us through that Spirit?

So why would we shrink back at difficult situations, why would we grumble about the inconvenience of doing God’s work, why would we ever trade the most amazing love affair a human can be involved in for the business of the world, the lust of the flesh, or the trinkets sold in stores?
Satin has been smashed and defeated at the cross and he cannot come in where he is not invited. Fear and selfishness are two of his most powerful agents but when we are abiding they are flimsy arrows that bounce from our armor and are broken under our feet as we move forward gaining and growing in Christ Jesus.

Even death is no longer a reality for those of us that can confidently proclaim ourselves as the children and the living God, the sibling of the very Christ, and the humble faithful student of the Holy Spirit!

So I ask you, what is there to be warm about?