There are several times in the Bible where God lists things He won’t put up with, but one is surprisingly easy to fall into – apathy.
Revelation 3:15-6 says, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Isn’t it fascinating that the Lord was so disgusted with apathy that He basically considered it worse than even being “cold” toward God?
How can we prevent ourselves from becoming like the people of the church of the Laodiceans?
One of the first things we can do is make an intentional effort to focus on the gospel. If we constantly think about how Jesus, his work on the cross – his life, death, and resurrection – changes everything, for every aspect of our lives, that changes everything. If we constantly remember the cross (that is, redemption), then we will becompelled to constantly change. We can't look at the cross and not be moved, knowing what God has done for us!
There are several other ways you can discourage lukewarmness in your life. For example, when you only do things for yourself, there is no feeling of being part of a greater cause, or God's work in the world. When you are serving others, you're feeding a passion in yourself for reaching your world for Christ, and you will be naturally more passionate about life. What greater purpose is there than furthering the kingdom of God? Allow loving service to fulfill you, drive you, and set your direction. James 1:27directs us that, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
Also, what you give the most of your time to is going to become most precious to you. You may hear this all the time – but what are you doing about it? The Laodiceansprobably had heard the following Psalms:
Psalm 5:3 – “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”
Psalms 63:1– “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.”
Psalm 1:2 – “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. ”
Perhaps they too were too busy, and too tired to make time for the Lord. But that kind of busy is not producing things of eternal value. Take a few minutes to evaluate what youput your time towards! If you start seeking God daily with a set aside time, you will long for that time with Him, and it won’t be a chore or something to check off your list – it will be your life, when you feel most alive and rejuvenated.
There is a quote from Missionary C. T. Studd, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last." When you're tempted to skip your Bible reading, think prayer is worthless, or wonder if you really need to attend church, recognize that as temptation!
It is also good to be intentional about your goals and dreams. Work toward something; no goal is ever accomplished accidentally. Taking even small steps is moving forward. Did Jesus not have the cross in mind from the beginning? We’re creatures of habit, and habits are choices. Apathy and laziness are very similar traits. When we get lazy, we get bad habits; our sin nature comes through. If you set goals and create good habits, you will move forward.
If there was something that an observer could see about Christians, coming from their many backgrounds and starting points in their spiritual journeys, I would hope that it would be constant change – change to become more like Christ in all things. That kind of change is in a never ending circle with passion for life; you won’t strive for something unless you’re passionate about it, and you’re more passionate about it as you strive for it. So how does the circle start? Perhaps it’s twofold, in that you have to choose to see and pursue the beauty in life, and you have to ask God to give you a passion for life.
May your eyes light up and your heart fill to overflowing when someone asks about whatyou love the most in life. May they see in you a reflection of love and light that only God can fill you with, that points straight to Him. He created you, and knows your hopes and dreams – may you trust Him completely with your life. Each of these characteristics areyours to develop, and while you will have to rekindle the fire at times in your life, may you always remember “that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6