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The cure to being lukewarm

A Commentary by Constance Vanides

“You’ve got to acc-cent-tchu-ate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Don’t mess with Mr. In-between!” I found myself singing the Johnny Mercer lyrics to this popular song of the forties. The song just popped into my mind as I considered “Mr. In-between” to be similar to the lukewarmness of the church of Laodicea.

    Jesus said, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:15, 16)

Is Jesus also speaking to the church of today which has lost its zeal for the things of God and has settled into a routine of its own making? Have programs and study classes that reflect the world’s ways of doing church replaced genuine worship of God and sincere compassion for one another? Is the church neglecting its service to God by following man as head of the church instead of Jesus?

Why does Jesus rebuke the church of Laodicea, and us today, for being complacent in the things of life? Self direction is much like the people of Laodicea, who, in believing they had everything and everything was in their control, lost their desire to depend on Jesus Christ. After a time, He becomes just a symbol and not the living God. Who are we counting on to “run the church”?

    “I could wish you were cold or hot,” (Revelation 3:15) Jesus told the Laodiceans. How can being cold bring Jesus satisfaction? I would suggest that by being cold one realizes there’s something missing, and thereby would seek help. And, of course, to be hot is to have the zeal, the passion, the desire to open the door to the One who knocks, to welcome Him in and enjoy His companionship in full measure.

The lukewarm church is predictable and boring, because it has not allowed the Living Word to rule. There’s no life! Jesus lovingly offers “eye salve” for the church and individuals to see with Spiritual eyes, as He also directs us to hear with Spiritual ears,“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:22)

So, between cold and hot, there is “Mr. In-between”, the one who keeps us from the free, abundant life in Jesus. Being lukewarm is also like “straddling the fence.” It can lead to staying right where you are and not going anywhere!

I am reminded of how one man made his own decision. He had been searching for God most of his life, never finding the answer in all his scholarly readings. Faced with a terminal illness, he shared with my husband and me a dream he had while in the hospital. He saw himself lying on the top of a fence. He was given the choice, life on one side of the fence or death on the other side. He chose life, life in the Spirit. He repented of his sins, particularly in how he had treated others.

He lived longer than was expected. And, by receiving new life from above, he was assured of eternal life with Jesus. After years of “messing with Mr. In-between” lukewarmness with God, this man finally made his decision to eliminate the lukewarm negative at the end of his life, instead “accentuating the positive”, zealously looking to that eternal life with Jesus.

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© Constance Vanides