How do you prefer your coffee? Some like it hot, some like it cold. But rarely do you find someone who likes it room temperature. God’s feelings about our faith is exactly the same parallel.
The last thing any Christ follower wants to be called, is lukewarm. It’s a challenge many believers have struggled with, including myself.
Lukewarm faith means having one foot in the Kingdom, and one foot in the world. What does the Bible say about this? A big ol’ mouthful. The unfiltered, unsugarcoated truth is that God can’t stand lukewarm Christianity (Revelation 3:14-16, NIV). It can be a tough pill to swallow if the issue applies to you. Believe me, I know because I’ve been there.
I accepted Christ into my heart at eight years old, but I didn’t consider myself spiritually mature until I was old enough to understand WHY I believed the things I did.
My mom raised me right. I was active in the Church, she taught me how to pray effectively, I read my word frequently, and even experienced periods of Christian homeschooling (shout-out to A Beka Academy). But was my relationship with Christ completely authentic? Honestly, no. I did those things out of parental obedience, not out of obedience to God.
Although it gave me the foundation to stay on the right path, I genuinely started growing spiritually after getting to know Christ for myself. This happened during my mid-teenage years, but things started going downhill after I graduated from high school. We all have our weaknesses, and mine happened to be idolatry.
My first day of college was the day I signed my life over to my education and career. I dedicated 100% of my time towards studying, homework, internships, working, job hunting, networking, building my industry influence…the list goes on. Success and achieving the “American Dream” was the goal for me, and I didn’t let anything (or anyone) get in the way of that. I was so caught up in my own life and desires that I didn’t realize that I had put God on the back burner.
It all started during freshman year. I stopped going to church during this season. In the beginning, I would visit on holidays or do the occasional church-hop, but then it dwindled down to not going at all. I proclaimed my Christian faith when it was convenient, and quite honestly I thought that was enough. But my spiritual life was gasping for air as the days went by. I only prayed when I needed something, and taking the time to read my Word was like pulling teeth. Meanwhile, things were on and poppin’ in my personal life…or so I thought.
I adopted a worldly attitude in college, and became obsessed with the things that didn’t matter: status, materialism, you name it. Post-college, I practically worshipped my career. Doing what I loved and enjoyed was priority over God, as well as the things He called me to do. I was getting ahead in my career, and that was all that mattered to me. I had become so blinded by the things that weren’t important, and didn’t even realize that I had become spiritually dead. I’d gone from on fire for Christ to lukewarm to ice cold.
Six months into my full-time job, I felt physically and mentally drained. The bills were getting paid and the work was fun, but I eventually realized that it wasn’t fulfilling me spiritually. When it got to that point, I knew that some changes needed to be made. I knew that I needed to get my priorities straight and put God first again.
Let’s face it: perfection is unattainable. We all fall short of His glory from time-to-time, and that doesn’t make Him love us any less. But it also doesn’t give us a hall pass to keep making the same mistakes over and over again. The “sin now, repent later” attitude is one with many pitfalls. I’m assuming you don’t desire to be a slave to sin (otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this!), so it’s a pathway you definitely don’t want to take.
The person I am today is totally different from the person I was a year ago. My relationship with Christ is stronger than ever, but I had to make some sacrifices in order to get to that place. Here are some changes I made that will help you keep your faith boiling hot.
Keep Your Nose Buried in the Word
Stay spiritually fed by meditating on his Word day and night (Joshua 1:8, NIV). Reading plans help me with studying the Bible contextually. YouVersion has some really great series. “30 Days of Heartwork” and “How to Neighbor” are two of my personal favorites. Not only do I get my daily nourishment from the Word with these plans, but I grow spiritually as well.
Monitor What Your Spirit Consumes
We all have those guilty pleasures. For me, it was reality TV. Shows like Love & Hip Hop, Basketball Wives, Bad Girl’s Club, and the Real Housewives of Atlanta were all I watched at one point. I knew they were influencing me negatively, but I didn’t care because it made for good TV. You may be thinking through the same thing. Explicit rap music may feel good to the ears, and shows like Empire and Scandal may be entertaining to watch. But are they feeding your soul? Think about it.
It’s the same with media. Watching the news all day, or infiltrating your mind with negative media is not healthy. At the end of the day, mainstream media has a job to do. That job is to control the public opinion and promote division. Stay aware, but don’t let it consume you.
Go to church
It’s true, going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car. BUT, you’d be surprised at how much of a difference going makes. After ditching Sunday services for a few years, stepping foot back into the church felt like a breath of fresh air. I will say, it felt different the second time around. The messages I heard really resonated with me, and motivated me to continue making improvements with my life.
For the weeks I can’t make it to church, I try to make it up by catching a previously recorded sermon online, or listening to a word-driven podcast.
Stash Matthew 4 in the Back of Your Head
This passage walks us through the time Satan tested Jesus in the wilderness. Knowing that the Savior Himself has dealt with and conquered temptation, continuously fills me with hope. It shows me that I’m just as capable of resisting the Devil. So let this chapter serve as motivation when temptation strikes.
Satan will always try and come for you (John 10:10, NIV). But God has given us the power and authority to fight back. Stay prepared, and stay prayed up.
Who’s ready to turn up the heat in their spiritual walk with Christ? It may not be easy, but it’s well worth it. As Jonathan McReynolds would say, “It’d be cool if we could love the Lord and still go do our thing. But it don’t work like that. You gotta be white or black.”
Latest posts by Johnaé McDonald (see all)
- Feeling Lukewarm? Here’s How to Keep Your Faith Boiling Hot - August 31, 2016