Lukewarm

Francis Chan on “lukewarm people.”

LUKEWARM PEOPLE attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe “good Christians” do, so they go. (See Isaiah 29:13)

LUKEWARM PEOPLE give money to charity and to the church … as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so. After all, God loves a cheerful giver, right? (See 1 Chronicles 21:24)

LUKEWARM PEOPLE are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for “extreme” Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call “radical” what Jesus expected of all His followers. (See James 1:22 & 4:17) 

LUKEWARM PEOPLE rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion. (See Matthew 10:32-33)

LUKEWARM PEOPLE gauge their morality or “goodness” by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satisfied that while they aren’t as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street. (See Luke 18:11-12)

LUKEWARM PEOPLE say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, a part of their lives. But only a part. They give Him a section of their time, their money, and their thoughts, but He isn’t allowed to control their lives. (See Luke 9:57-62)

LUKEWARM PEOPLE love God, but they do not love Him with all their heart, soul, and strength. They would be quick to assure you that they try to love God that much, but that sort of total devotion isn’t really possible for the average person; it’s only for pastors and missionaries and radicals. (See Matthew 22:37-38)

LUKEWARM PEOPLE love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love of others is typically focused on those who love them in return, like family, friends, and other people they know and connect with. There is little love left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, whose kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable. Their love is highly conditional and very selective, and generally comes with strings attached. (See Matthew 5:43-47)

LUKEWARM PEOPLE will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give. (See Luke 18:21-25)

LUKEWARM PEOPLE are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. They are quick to point out, “Jesus never said money is the root of all evil, only that the love of money is.” Untold numbers of lukewarm people feel “called” to minister to the rich; very few feel “called” to minister to the poor. (See Matthew 25:34,40)

LUKEWARM PEOPLEdo whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They want to do the bare minimum, to be “good enough” without requiring too much of them. They ask, “How far I can go before it’s considered a sin?” (See 1 Chronicles 29:14)

LUKEWARM PEOPLE are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God. (See 1 Timothy 6:17-18)

LUKEWARM PEOPLE feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America. Just as the prophets in the Old Testament warned Israel that they were not safe just because they lived in the land of Israel, so we are not safe just because we wear the label Christians or because some people persist in calling us a “Christian nation.” (See Matthew 7:21)

LUKEWARM PEOPLE do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they don’t have to. They don’t’ have to trust God if something unexpected happens – they have their savings account. They don’t need God to help them—they have their retirement plan in place. They don’t genuinely seek out what life God would have them live—they have life figured out and mapped out. They don’t depend on God on a daily basis – their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn’t look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God.

Ouch.

Love Wins

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