By: Dennis Bates
The book of Revelation has always fascinated me. Maybe it’s because no matter how much I try to understand it, I don’t. Perhaps that’s what’s intended. Throughout the ages, the book has been included in the New Testament canon by some and excluded by others. The book has been interpreted as a forecast of the future, a coded message for the faithful of the time and a warning to Christians of all time of what could happen if we stray.
You pick; I can’t. All I know for sure is that the Bible warns us again and again that it is not ours to know the specific time and place of the second coming. The Second coming will sneak in like a thief in the night, according to 1Thessalonians so the real key is to be ready, no matter when or how it happens, and I am.
However, I think the book has another function: it teaches us how to live today…right now…in this part of Eternity. The words of Jesus to the church of Laodicea are a perfect example.
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3: 15-16
Think about a cup of coffee or tea. Hot is good; cold is good, but when it gets lukewarm, it just doesn’t taste good. How many times have you put lukewarm coffee into your mouth and spit it out saying, “Yuk?” That’s how we are when we refuse to take a position one way or the other—lukewarm, and God can’t do anything with that.
If we’re excited about finding and doing His will, God can use our zeal to accomplish His plans. If we’re not excited, even if we have refused to accept Him, He can convict us of our sins and turn us around if we repent. There is no better example of that than the Apostle Paul, who set out to persecute Christians and ended up leading them instead. He was cold; God made him hot.
Some of us today could be members of the church at Laodicea. We try to duck our heads and weave our way through life quietly so we don’t get into any trouble. We say, like the people in Laodicea did, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” Instead of standing fast for the principles we know to be true, we compromise and we say nothing.
Here’s the real sadness about being lukewarm. If we are lukewarm, it means we once had heat, but through inaction or indifference we have lost much of that heat. We knew, but we don’t value that knowledge enough to hold onto it. We were in the Will, but we didn’t stay there.
I have always felt that the most miserable person in the world is the person who knows what the Will of God is, but doesn’t walk in it. The person who has never been in that Will doesn’t know what they are missing, but the person who has been in that Will can never be happy until they get back to it. Being lukewarm tastes bad in your mouth, but it feels even worse in your soul. Don’t be lukewarm.