Thursday, 12 December 2013

of Fences and Half-Pregnancies


As a part of my devotional reading this morning I came across the following two verses:

"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." (Revelation 3:15-16; ESV)

This got me thinking: Is it possible that those who are spiritually cold won’t face the same horrible fate as the spiritually lukewarm? What is Jesus saying here? Is there something about “works” after all? No, I’m sure it’s not that, for how else would we explain, “for it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:5). And yet that little word “works” is still used by Jesus, and so we really cannot be completely ignoring it either. Maybe the “choices” we make are also a “works.” Hmm.

As I reflected on this, the first image that came to my mind was that of someone walking precariously along the top of a fence. Do you remember doing that as a child? It was great fun, wasn’t it, to see if we could make it the whole length of the fence without falling off? However, fall off (or jump off) we inevitably did, into one yard or the other.

But spiritually speaking, I think this text from Revelation shows us that fence walking is a dangerous game, and yet I suspect that far too many of us are playing it far too often. Sometimes, as I look at some of the shenanigans in the so-called Christian community, I think that we’ve invented a faith-version of Russian roulette.

Jesus said that He would rather us be hot or cold, but not lukewarm. I take that to mean that, though being hot spiritually is certainly the preferable option, even a cold spiritual person (an atheist perhaps?) is a better option than someone dabbling in the lukewarm middle ground. Could it be that an atheist is more highly regarded by our Lord than a lukewarm pseudo-Christian is? Certainly that seems to be the case here.

Where did we ever get the idea that it was possible to be only a half-Christian? Is that not what the lukewarm implies? Maybe being a half-Christian is still being too generous. Ultimately one cannot be only a half-Christian any more than a new mother-to-be can be only half-pregnant; it’s all or none. There is no such thing as only a little bit of Jesus; it's all or none. There is no such thing as being a little spiritual, or half-spiritual; it’s all or none. A little bit of Jesus cannot be, for ultimately that implies a whole lot more of someone or something else (the devil perhaps?). Ouch!

How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” (1 Kings 18:21; NIV)

Who or what is your Baal? Could he/it be keeping you in a lukewarm state? Isn't it time to make a decision one way or another and get off the spiritual fence? Unless, of course, we think we might enjoy being spit out of Jesus’ mouth like some foul and putrid substance.

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