We've been studying the book of Revelation at the women's Bible study at my church. And this spring, we've focused on Jesus' letters in the first three chapters. Did you know that Jesus wrote seven letters to Christians? WOW! Are the convicting and powerful. I feel like my life has been under a microscope!
I've become aware of nuances of sin in my life that I never saw before, aspects of selfishness, pride, and competitiveness that I have let slide. I've made excuses and compared myself to the standards of the culture instead of God's holy and biblical standards. I've played games in my head: "Oh, everyone is like that," "I'm better than most people in this area of my life," "I have good reasons." But when we dug into the letter from Jesus to the Laodicean church, I felt the sting of the sin that I've let slide. In Revelation 3:15 and 16, Jesus says, " 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. When Jesus looks at our unexamined sin, he feels nauseated, heartsick, about to puke. Have you ever been so upset with something or someone that you felt physically ill? I have, and I grieve that when I'm lukewarm, I make Jesus feel that way.
What did Jesus mean by lukewarm? In Laodicea they had no water supply of their own. They could pack up their family and take a trip to the mountains where they could enjoy the fresh icy cold water. Or they could take a trip to Hieropolis where they could enjoy the hot springs, but back home in Laodicea, their water was always a nasty putrid lukewarm. Archeologists have excavated terra cotta pipes used to import water to the city, and the pipes are full of limestone deposits. So not only was the water lukewarm, but it was also full of sediment. Jesus' used a visual aid that reminded them every day that their lack of concern over their sin made them nauseating to him.
I need a reminder too, but not nasty water to drink all the time. I'm asking the Lord to remind me of the many ways I fall short, of the times I make excuses, of the things I do without listening to the conviction of the still small voice that whispers, "Is this worthy of a child of Almighty God?" One thing is for sure: none of us ever arrives.
And I'm not allowing my lukewarmness to turn into an unhealthy feeling of not being loved. I need to know that I'm loved unconditionally so that I don't obsess on feeling worthless, and I can concentrate on overcoming sin. Jesus loves me, this I know...so I'm asking him to help me see my sin and curtail my blindness and numbness, so that I will continue to grow and become more like Christ. The very thought that I might make Jesus heartsick makes me heartsick. What about you?