Tag Archives: lukewarm

The weight of broken chains

chains

I have struggled with sin and uncertainty, more than I would like to admit.  It can be debilitating and the stress of habitual sin cycles bleeds over into nearly every part of life. This new year has been the start of a refocusing in my life and I have spent so much time thinking about the impact my life, here and now, has on eternity.  It started with a small retreat topic of lukewarm vs. obsessed and has grown from there.  I praise God every day for this “wake up” call and for this new perspective.  I can see growth again, when before, I was stagnant.  But in that growth I am learning that it’s not just a change of mind and everything is good again.  It is a process and a heavy one at that.

I don’t believe I can look at life through the eternal perspective and not come across the sin patterns that have plagued me and kept me chained to a short-sighted view.  It has hurt, when I think of how my thoughts, attitudes and actions have often been in direct opposition to what Jesus expects and deserves from me.  Through this process I keep coming back to the idea of being chained to my sinful self.  I know and fully believe that my chains have been cast off through the death, burial and resurrection of  Christ.  I am free from the penalty of my sinful flesh.  I am no longer bound to this fallen world with no hope for an eternity with my savior.  Praise God.  But, just because Christ broke my chains, that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes feel the weight of what they represent.  I still live in this world – this fallen world. I am still surrounded by sin and sometimes get burdened and twisted up in the broken chains of who I used to be.  It’s during these times of weakness and failure that I feel the weight and the darkness starts to creep in.  It’s during these times that the devil lashes out, trying to capitalize on my doubts and my weakness.  It’s during these times that I remember and call upon the one that has set me free.

In Romans, chapter 7, Paul talks about the real struggle of living in this fallen world.  He describes trying to do what is right, only to end up doing what is wrong.  In his account, he helps us to understand the very principle I described.  Though we are new creatures in Christ, we are still living in our sinful bodies.  We are still dealing with the chains as they lay around us.  But we are not hopeless.  What a blessing it is to know that I am not forgotten and I am not alone in this struggle.  “What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?  Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” Romans 7:24-25 (NIV).  This passage is a powerful reminder of what I am to do when the weight of the chains creeps up on me – give it to God.  Too easy of a response?  Absolutely not.  Christ pleads with us all to recognize that we have no power, on our own, over sin.  We just can’t do it without Him.  The best part of this is that He wants to do it for us and through us.  Just as Paul fell to his face crying out, recognizing that he is nothing without Christ, that is what my response needs to be.  In the past several weeks I have found the most comfort and contentment when I lift my hands and tell God that I am nothing without Him.  Christ’s love for me is greater than I could ever imagine.  He loves me far too much to just set me free from the sin debt that separates me from Him and then leave me under the weight of the broken chains.

Are your broken chains still weighing heavy on you this day?  Give it to God, the one that has the strength to carry the weight we never could.

Lord, I thank you this day for your grace and mercy on me.  I praise you for the gift of eternal life through  your son Jesus Christ.  I thank you for breaking my chains and setting me free.  I praise you for not letting that be the end of the story.  Forgive me for how I have allowed doubt and darkness to creep into my life.  Thank you for reminding me that you are here to carry the weight and to help me grow to a greater dependence and love for you.  I pray that I will be obediently humble in my focus on you and that through you I will find the strength to face the challenges of living in a fallen world.  May all that I do be for the glory of you.  In Christ’s name I pray – Amen.

 

Lukewarm unbeliever

lukewarm_1

Reflecting back on the past year, our youth pastor challenged the students (and me) to read a list of statements under the title of “Profile of the Lukewarm”.  It only took about 5 minutes to feel the weight of God speaking directly to me as if to say, “this is for you too.”  God has challenged me to step up my game and He has used a couple of simple pages of powerful statements to help me see what many of the areas of my life really look like to Him and what they should look like to Him.

Before I jump straight to the first statement, I felt it important to share definitions and synonyms of the word lukewarm.  According to the dictionary, lukewarm is used to describe food as being tepid, or intended to be served hot, but instead served “barely warm”.  It’s also used to describe people or actions as unenthusiastic, indifferent, and noncommittal.  In short, if you’re lukewarm, you’re pretty much just here – nothing outstanding or noticeable.

LUKEWARM PEOPLE attend church fairly regularly.  It is what is expected of them, what they believe “good Christians” do, so they go.

That idea of just being here is what sticks out.  The first statement we read said this, “Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe “good Christians” do, so they go.  On the outside, going to church is what “good Christians” who know the benefit of being together with like-minded believers, do.  We are called to come together often to learn, to pray, and to build each other up so that we are stronger in a fallen world.  But what this statement really speaks to is the person that attends church simply because it’s another bullet on the schedule.  Because of their community status, or their family, it’s what is expected.  They put nothing into it, and they take nothing away from it.  What is lacking in this statement is doing something with church.  There are many people who will find themselves in eternal separation from God that never missed a Sunday service. Church doesn’t save you.  Church doesn’t make you a part of the family of God.  I think this is exactly what Christ was pointing out in the book of Revelation when he speaks of spitting the lukewarm out of His mouth.  It’s a picture of Christ expelling those from His presence that never made a decision to give their life to Christ, and accept His free gift of salvation.

Lukewarm people, or non-committed, indifferent people may attend a church service, but never let God have their heart.

While this statement certainly speaks to the non-believer, I think it has application for the believer as well.  Why do I attend church?  Is it merely out of duty, because I believe I am supposed to be there? Or am I going because I  want to be there to worship my Lord, to share with my fellow believers, to build them up and also be renewed myself?  The answer should be simple, but one we should examine.  While I firmly believe that the idea of a lukewarm Christian is not possible – you are either saved or not saved, I think we can be in “seasons” of lukewarm behavior.

Lord, today, I thank you for saving me.  I thank you that I am all-in according to your promise of salvation for all those who believe and accept your free gift.  Lord, I commit to a Godly attitude toward being in your house for worship and fellowship.  I thank you for the desire you have given me to be near to your people when our church doors are open.  I pray for your wisdom as I examine my life according to your word, and I pray for the courage and strength to follow you, no matter the cost.  In your name I pray – Amen.