Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
I had an opportunity to have lunch with Pastor Brian the other day. It was enjoyable and I had a chance to ask him some questions and talk over some things with him. During our conversation we started talking about a couple of books we have been reading. One book was Radical by David Platt and the other was Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Both books are excellent and I would recommend them to all Christians who desire to learn what it really means to follow Christ. But both books are very convicting, at least for Pastor Brian and me.
At one point during our conversation Pastor Brian talked about some of the things that impacted him from Radical then I started talking about Crazy Love. This is actually the second time I am reading it and I really don’t remember it being so convicting the first time. I’m not finished with the book yet but the hardest chapter I have read so far chapter 4 aptly entitled, “Profile of the Lukewarm.” In this Chapter, Pastor Chan talks about several characteristics of the lukewarm. I told Pastor that it convicted me so much that I began to wonder if I was even saved. He had a similar experience and we both laughed about it. But it is important for us not to live our lives in a lukewarm state of mind. The Bible has strong things to say to those who are lukewarm toward Him. Let me share just a few of the points Pastor Chan brings out in his book:
1. Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly-that’s what “good Christians” do.
2. Lukewarm people choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. (in other words, they go along with the crowd.
3. Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sins; they only want to be saved from the penalty of their sin.
4. Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, co-workers or friends.
5. Lukewarm People will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give. One more,
6. Lukewarm People are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God.
This is just a few of the characteristics that Pastor Chan brought out. After reading that chapter I felt entirely deflated and defeated. My thought was, “what hope is there for a person like me? I exhibit almost all of the 17 characteristics mentioned at one time or another.”
So what is the point in writing this blog? It is this, we need to examine ourselves. Talking about lukewarmness is not meant to give us ammunition to use against our brothers and sisters. But I do believe that we need to constantly examine our own lives. I heard someplace that the apostle Paul had a “holy discontentment” with his walk with the Lord. I think that is a good way to put it. A holy discontentment will cause us to examine our lives and motives in our walk with God. It is not self-defeating. That is why the word HOLY is used. Holiness will not cause us to be defeated, but it will cause us to keep running the race we are in and not give up. Please read Hebrews 12:1-3. To me, that is one of the most important passages concerning maintaining our walk with our Lord.
I say this next part with grace, love and a little fear. Just because we said some prayer, or walked down an aisle and “accepted Christ” does not make us a true Christian. Don’t get me wrong, salvation is totally by grace through faith. But we are saved for good works which God prepared for us to walk in them (see Ephesians 2:10. When we become Christians, there will be a change in our lives. We now have the power (grace) to live as we ought. We have the Holy Spirit living within us to allow us to live as we should.
One more point. What should be the motive for following and serving our Lord? According to Matthew 22:27-30 it is LOVE. If we truly love God, serving Him will no longer be drudgery or a chore. We will serve Him and live our lives out of a heart’s desire to please Him.
I don’t want to end this on a negative note, so allow me to say one more thing. Pastor Chan points out that there is a difference between living a lukewarm life and being a person in process. As I read those 17 points I mentioned above and realized I exhibited most of them at one time or another, I also know that our life with our Lord is a process. We all exhibit some of the elements of lukewarmness. And how many of us can say we love the Lord perfectly. It is not about perfection, it is about running the race. There is always grace available for anyone who is truly following Christ. This is not a call to fear or to doubt your (or my) salvation because we fall short. But it is a call to examine ourselves and make sure in our heart that we are truly following Christ. Keep running to win, my friends. It ill be a struggle and even a battle, but it will be worth it!