I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:15
I love coffee. Every morning, as I get up early to spend my time with God, I brew a double cup, drinking it while I pray, read, and write. As often as I drink, I never get sick of that fresh, hot cup of coffee. In the hot summer months, I also very much enjoy iced coffee. Either way, hot or cold, my coffee must be fresh, because what I can’t abide is stale coffee. A cup of coffee that’s been left out for a day, becoming room temperature is a tepid, disgusting thing. That, I won’t drink and if I would accidentally take a drink, I’d likely spit it out of my mouth in revulsion.
This is the picture I get of Christ in today’s passage. In it, he chastised those in the church of Laodicea for being lukewarm Christians. Yes, they claimed to follow Christ but it just didn’t make any difference in their lives. They behaved no differently than those around them, but rather compromised, adapting to their culture. Other than their church membership, they simply didn’t look any different than everyone else. They didn’t follow God’s will, but rather, they lived for themselves. Jesus said he wished they would be passionate about something – either hot or cold – but because they were lukewarm, he would spit them out – like day-old coffee.
I’ve been there. I’ve been that lukewarm Christian and, in some ways, I’m still fighting not to be. I can easily recall a time when I claimed to follow Christ, but obviously followed myself. My life just didn’t look any different from the culture around me. I fit in too well, adapting to my surroundings. I can’t say that I’m thankful for the pain I caused in my addiction, but I’m thankful that the painful consequences of my addiction shocked me out of my slumber. I can’t stand the thought that I might have lived out the long, dull years of my life, wasting my time on Earth, doing nothing and being nothing more than a tepid, room temperature, pretend Christian.
This is a daily challenge for all of us. Do we live that which we claim to believe? Do we daily pursue God’s will, loving him and serving our neighbors? Or do we simply blend in, following ourselves like everyone else? We can claim to follow God, but we can’t fool him. We must be hot or cold, or else he’ll spit us out – just like day-old coffee.