"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."
--Francis Chan, Crazy Love
A great wrestling has been going on in my spirit for months...years really. And, with months of seeking and praying and pleading for clarity, every road leads in the same direction. Every book I read points to the same conclusion. And Scripture spells it out so plainly that I wonder why in the world anyone could ever miss it. But we do miss it. Many, many are missing it.
Here's the thing... To truly be a follower of Jesus requires an obedience, a lifestyle and choices that are viewed by others as radical. If we think otherwise, we are deceiving ourselves.
Give this a try... Get alone with God and read through the 4 Gospels and make note of what Jesus said, and do not change His words or insert, "Well, He didn't really mean that...." Really...go ahead and try it. It's uncomfortable and downright difficult. Why else would He have said that the road is narrow? He IS the only way to heaven, and the only option is to be a true disciple of His.
BUT ARE WE?
I struggle with this. Why is it that we can be in Christian circles and have Christian friends, and yet very few of us actually have lives that look like Jesus? In a church of 100 or 2,500 or 10,000 people, how many can stand up and say in all honesty that they are truly following Him? And I mean REALLY following Him...not just going to church, having a quiet time every day, singing hymns or choruses, and reading the Bible at the breakfast table with our children. These are all good things, but where are the ones who are seriously, really following Him in the tough things, the uncomfortable things, the seemingly radical things..the very things Jesus did and told us to also do?
Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." --Mark 10:2
This is just one verse out of many with similar commands in the Gospels. Why do we read a verse like this and immediately shoot up a wall of defense? We are very quick to protect our comfort. We are quick to say Jesus didn't mean what He said or that it was for a different time period or anything at all to make it less of a sacrifice for us. Every time Jesus outlines what it requires to be a follower of Him, the terms are not easy. Where did we ever get the idea that it is simply praying a prayer and getting baptized and going to church regularly? Following Jesus is a radical obedience into the hard things. Anything else is lukewarm. Seriously...chew on that for several minutes and don't let it slip out of your mind without affecting you.
Anything else besides radical obedience is lukewarm.
"So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew you out of My mouth." --Revelation 3:16Oh, I honestly fear that we do not believe Him in this! We suffer from a disease we don't even know we have...we are riddled with unbelief. Do we get it...really GET IT? Anything less than radical obedience to Him is lukewarm, and He will spew (vomit, puke, throw up) the lukewarm out of His mouth. Surely this has to kick us into seriously reevaluating our lives, our motives, our spiritual state....
The fact is, He just wasn't interested in those who fake it.
In the parable of the sower, Jesus explained that the seed is the truth (the Word of God). When the seed is flung onto the path, it is heard but quickly stolen away. When the seed is tossed onto the rocks, no roots take hold; there is an appearance of depth and growth because of the good soil, but it is only surface level. When the seed is spread among the thorns, it is received but soon suffocated by life's worries, riches and pleasures. But when the seed is sown in good soil, it grows, takes root and produces fruit.
My caution to you is this: Do not assume you are good soil.
--Francis Chan, Crazy Love
Anything other than radical obedience is lukewarm. The question is: What does this kind of obedience look like in MY LIFE?