Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 – December 27 – Lukewarm Faith

Study from God’s Word Revelations, Chapters 1 – 3 … Passage for Reflection: Revelations 3: 15 – 16 … NIV 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

My Journal for Today: As a Christian, you’ve probably read the letters to the seven churches in Asia-Minor which Jesus dictated to them through John; and you also know that these letters are warnings or exhortations for any church, or Christians, desiring to prepare or arm themselves against the onslaught of persecution the world was doling out in those times and/or can/will activate in our times. And the last of these letters has one of the most scathing exhortations and warnings, directed to Laodicea. And again, you probably know that the focus of Christ’s warning for the church was against Christians being lukewarm in their faith.

Apparently Laodicea had been a church where Christ had become their Lord and Savior. Yet, likely because of their wealth and worldliness, they had began to rely on their own resources and strength and had grown weak in their faith. And Jesus comes down hard on this church, thereby showing his tough love to any Christian who becomes lukewarm in faith by relying on self rather than on the Savior.

And Jesus’ attitude about such self-reliance and lack of commitment to Him is summed up in a very gritty metaphor in Rev. 3 where The Lord says that when He sees lukewarm “christians,” He simply wants to vomit them out because they make Him sick in the deepest recesses of His inward being.

I don’t know about you, dear fellow Christian; but I don’t want to be a disciple of Christ whom He wants to spew me out. I would not want to be the wretch my Lord feels He must retch to get rid of me. So, what Dr. LaGard Smith, the author of my devotional for today says is his “gut-wrenching” question is thusly: ”Is the intensity of my faith sufficient to help me overcome whatever trials and temptations might come my way?”

Jesus, writing through John to the Christians in Asia-Minor in those days, knew that these followers were going to be put through the fires of persecution and trial; and He wanted them to be purified by the fires, not burned up because they didn’t have the focus of faith and commitment necessary to come through those fires.

What about it, Christian? Do you see the fires of life as merely purifying fires, causing your faith to increase in intensity? Or, do you see them as destroying what little faith you have to be Christ’s disciple? So, if we desire to rekindle – or merely light – the fires of faith necessary to make it through the burning trials of life, what do we need to do?

And I have found that the key to the fires of my faith are in the degree to which I get to know my God; because, and many of you, reading along with me this year have read, to know God is to love God; … to love God is to obey God; … to obey God is to serve God; and to serve God is to receive God’s enlightening, enabling, empowering grace (i.e., to be blessed by God). Therefore, I believe one has faith rekindled by intentionally getting to know God, i.e., Christ, with devotion and discipline to dive in and be enveloped by His truth (i.e., His word).

Years ago, when my mentor showed me that faith is given to us by God, he also showed me that it is activated and increased by the degree of intentionality I put into pursuing the faith God gives to me through His sanctifying grace. Therefore, if I covet and pursue that grace, forcefully and intentionally, he showed me God would increase my faith. And oh, how true that is!!!

So, dear one, if you’re serious about relighting and developing a burning fire of faith in this New Year, I would exhort you to dive into the heat of God’s word and pursue, through diligent prayer, the deep and abiding fire of faith that God will give you, … the fire which will purify you and let God reshape you into His image. Don’t let Satan draw your attention away from getting to know God more deeply this year; and the best place to pursue knowing God and having him relight your faith is by diving in and staying in His word.

Your assignment: Go read and meditate deeply in the fire-lighting poem of truth in Psalm 119 [yes, all of it!]; and I guarantee that it will light your fire of faith for the New Year. Join me this year; and make it a year where we will be on fire for Christ!!

My Prayer for Today: Lord, light my fire; sustain my flames for You!! Amen

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