“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” Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV)
Goldilocks was hungry. She tasted the porridge from the first bowl. “This porridge is too hot!” she exclaimed. So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl. “This porridge is too cold,” she said. So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge. “Ahhh, this porridge is just right,” she said happily and she ate it all up.
According to Goldilocks, being lukewarm is just right. But what is good for porridge isn’t good for our spiritual lives. Jesus tells us that “because you are lukewarm… I am about to spit you out of my mouth!” That’s strong language. What’s so bad about being “lukewarm?”
Notice how our passage from Revelation 3:15-16 begins: “I know your deeds.” The focus here is on what we do, because our outward actions reflect the condition of our inner hearts (James 2:17).
It’s easy to see why someone should be “hot,” passionate for God and his Word. When Jesus cleared the temple, kicking out the money changers and merchants, “His disciples remembered that it is written: ’Zeal for your house will consume me’” (John 2:17). Jesus demonstrated his zeal by helping the poor, curing the sick, encouraging the discouraged, and preaching God’s Word to those who had lost hope.
But what about being “cold?” Jesus says that being cold is still better than being lukewarm because of something else he preached against: hypocrisy. It’s hypocritical to be half-heartedly seeking God.
During our spiritual valleys, we should be honest about how we feel. Reading the Psalms can be tremendously helpful during such times. King David is an example of someone who was hardly lukewarm about anything in his life. His Psalms fluctuate between praising God and sorrowfully crying out. Being cold is still worse than being hot, but at least if we admit we are sometimes “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17), we are being honest with ourselves and with God, and we can ask God to help us regain the passion we once had.
Has your spiritual life felt “lukewarm” lately? Has your relationship with God become routine, or even boring? If so, perhaps it’s time to seek a revitalized relationship with the God who yearns for your passionate commitment. To conclude the “lukewarm” passage, Jesus gives us a promise:
“To those who are victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21, TNIV).
What has your spiritual life felt like lately? What steps do you plan to take to improve your relationship with the Lord?