Confronting Casual Christianity
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Devotional for Day 12
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.
“‘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. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” - Revelation 3:14-22 (ESV)
The story is told that an Apathy Club was formed on a college campus. The officers for the club advertised a meeting of membership. Not one person showed up! Now that might make you laugh. Too apathetic to attend. Yet that same attitude is not all that funny when we consider the dead and listless form of Christianity. The dictionary defines apathy as “lack of feeling or emotion; impassiveness; lack of interest or concern; indifference.” Maybe you've heard it summed up in the expression: “whatever.”
The background to this passage is helpful in understanding its application. The city of Laodicea was founded in the middle of the third century B.C. and was situated about forty miles southeast of Philadelphia and Colossae in modern day Turkey. Under Roman rule, Laodicea had become wealthy and had a profitable business coming from the production of wool cloth. When destroyed by an earthquake about A.D. 60, it was able to rebuild without outside help. Its self-sufficiency lulled the church to sleep spiritually. The church was mentioned in the late fourteenth century, but the city today lies in complete ruin.
It seems a lot like the North American church, or even you and me. During this time of the coronavirus pandemic, the nations of the world have been brought to their knees by a little unseen disease. As a people, we pride ourselves in our ability to solve our problems by ourselves. We may even become apathetic to outside help from any person and even God.
As we see in this passage the Lord is asking the church in Laodicea to pick a temperature. Either be hot or cold in your love for Me. He wants the church to be committed! Not lukewarm, which translates to “tepid water.” Have you drunk lukewarm water on purpose? You want to spit it out!
You see, at times in our lives we are cold to the things of God. We're in that “whatever” stage. When we trust Christ in our lives it’s like we’re on fire, or hot, for the things of the Lord. Remember the first time you read the word of God, or when you were excited by His “yes” answers to your prayers. Or when you told someone about Christ and they trusted Him for salvation. You see, that's a hot spiritual life. How do we get back to that heat? The passage says “so be zealous and repent.” In this time of fasting, ask Jesus where you are lukewarm, and repent. Maybe it’s in your finances, your relationships, your daily time spent with Him. Could it be that you are lukewarm in trusting the Lord to take care of you and your family during this pandemic?
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us when we’re not so lovely. Help us to confront the lack of desire to know You and love You back. Give us the strength to pursue our relationship with You as we would someone we love deeply. May we all be committed.
Cameron Garven, Ph. D.
Ministry Fellow, Christian Union Nova