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My hair was styled, my church clothes on, and makeup done. I was ready for Sunday morning service. I recently purchased a new lipstick color and was excited to have a good reason to try it out. It was called “Sangria” and was a deep purple that complemented my completion and gave me a boost of confidence.
I attended church with my head held high, shoulders back, and a polite smile on my face. Sometimes a new lip color can do that for a woman. Until I took a quick trip to Target to pick up a few items. In the clothing department I happened to catch my reflection in one of the mirrors and there it was, quickly ridding me of all the confidence I once had.
On my front tooth was a steak of “Sangria” deep purple lipstick. The horror! I quickly thought back to every person I confidently smiled at just earlier in Church. Did they see this? Did they see it and also not say a word to enlighten me about it? I went through an entire Sunday service assured in my polished ensemble only to face the fact that there was a big purple glob of lipstick on my tooth tarnishing my entire look.
Isn't that frustrating? When you think everything is ok only to find out it never was? This is how I think about being a lukewarm Christian. You have the look but there’s just one problem: the look is not enough. Being lukewarm means you say you follow Jesus but really in your heart you don't. It's when your actions and heart for God don't match.
We first read of the term “lukewarm” in the book of Revelation as God speaks to the church of Laodicea saying:
“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.” - Revelation 3:15-16 NIV
Being lukewarm is saying that you are in a right relationship with God but living like you don't. And God hates this. He would rather us be hot or cold because being lukewarm is seriously dangerous. It's dangerous because you think everything is fine when you really have a huge lipstick stain on your tooth. You think you are in right relationship with God but He is ready to spit you out.
The only way to open our eyes to this dangerous condition is to look at our own reflection and honestly accept the truth about what we see. So if you're ready for some self-reflection, here are 3 ways to know if you might be a lukewarm Christian.
One of the major aspects of the Christian life is trusting God to lead us. It's a desire to see His will in our lives even over our own. This takes having the faith that God's way is the best way. But because the lukewarm Christian doesn't really believe this, they will always make their own decisions without consulting God. The lukewarm Christian makes a habit of leading their own life to what they think is comfortable and not following God. While in college I realized I was guilty of this. I wanted Jesus to be my savior but I did not want Him as my Lord. I wanted to do my own thing, but this was a clear sign of a lukewarm heart. If we truly want Jesus we don't just want parts of Him, we want Him all.
Many times lukewarm Christians are only fooling themselves. Even their friends will see they are not really all in with Jesus. Others will not take your relationship with God seriously when they see you don't either. And why should they? People will expect you to do what you’ve always done, not simply what you say. If your friends don’t believe what you are saying about your commitment to Jesus ask yourself, is it because your words don’t match your actions?
Lukewarm Christians will always want to put God to the test. Because they want to live with God and in the world, they will want to know how far they can push the limit before tipping over to one side or the other. They'll want to know, how far they can get from God and still be ok with Him? But this is the wrong question. A sincere believer will not want to know how far they can get from God. They will want to know how close they can get to him.
In the end, it's all about what you believe about God. Do you simply see Him as a get out of Hell free card or a loving Father trustworthy of your whole life and heart?
Image Credit: Unsplash.com
Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at belovedwomen.org.