Recently I went through Jesus’ letters to the churches in the book of Revelation. Jesus pinpointed the weaknesses and strengths of each congregation. He commended a few churches for their perseverance in hardship. He warned churches that were straying and needed to turn back to him.
It’s easy to look at the letters and point fingers.
They were bad.
They were good.
It’s a little more terrifying to realize Jesus might be talking to us.
Consider the Laodiceans. Jesus said to them, “You are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17).
They had issues in their congregation; probably something super idolatrous, right?
They were in fact idolatrous. They were lukewarm. They knew Jesus, but Jesus lost the top spot in their lives, and other things quickly took God’s place.
A lot of times we slip into lukewarm territory without even realizing it.
While we used to read the Bible daily, life has gotten a little busy, so reading the Bible happens once in a while, if at all.
Church attendance is based on what other options are available. Overtime at work is readily available, and the extra money means renovations for the house or a vacation for the family. Friends ask you to join them skiing or for another activity. A one-week absence from church becomes two and three, and then you’re extra tired, so you’ll just sleep in this once.
We no longer feel convicted to live as light. We use the same crass language (everyone talks that way), gossip (can you believe it?), complain (it’s not fair!), overeat (I like food), overdrink (I like how I feel when I’m buzzed), watch the same shows (they are hilarious), and tell lies (half-truths!) when convenient like the rest of the world.
The choices we make daily to be in the Word and prayer or not, allowing the Holy Spirit to convict us or shoving his warnings aside, what we watch on TV or on our phones, who we spend our time with—these things either keep us firm in our faith or pull us from our walk with God.
Jesus’ warning was to “be earnest and repent” (Revelation 3:19). We do this not just to bring glory to God, but because it’s for our good.
Overeating and drinking doesn’t lead to feeling healthy and vigorous and serving God and people to the best of our ability. The hilarious shows that are in stark contrast to God’s design for our lives chip away at our consciences, and we start buying into worldly ideology and away from God’s design. Gossiping and complaining might feel good for a moment, but using those same moments for prayer invites the Sovereign of the universe into the situation.
The abundant life that God longs to give us (John 10:10) is not found in worldly places. Jesus calls us out of the world and into a life spent with him.
“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:19,20).
Heavenly Father, let your warning wake me out of spiritual lethargy. Renew in me a love of your Word. Send mature Christians my way to spur me on by their love of you. Help me walk away from the things of the world and know I was called to more. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Amber Albee Swenson has authored four books, writes an occasional devotional blog, and is a regular contributor to several Christian organizations. In 2011 she started speaking to women with the intent of bringing the Bible to life in tangible, applicable ways.
For more encouragement from Amber and other Time of Grace writers, sign up here to receive email notifications of new blog posts.