Friday, April 22, 2011
I don’t know anyone who likes that word. Who would? Who would like something that’s too cold to be hot, and too hot to be cold? Although some dishes taste just fine lukewarm, many don’t. I know my mother is a STICKLER for food temperature, and has no qualms about sending something back to the kitchen to be “warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds.”
One morning recently, I was in a condition I can only describe as “bleary-eyed.” As in, I hadn’t rested well the night before, and I could barely hold my eyes open. My usual morning routine includes reading a few verses out of the Bible, and then having some prayer. But I knew that this morning, I was not going to get much out of a DIY study. Ever have one of those times, when you’re so tired (or distracted…) that you get to the end of a passage – whether in the Bible or a magazine article – and think, “What did I just read?”
Well, that’s where I found myself that morning.
I turned on my computer, and logged on to the Proverbs 31 Ministries website. I read the devotion for that day, but I didn’t think the verse applied to me. The title of the post was “The Unsaved Christian.”
Nope, doesn’t sound like me.
The verse was found in Isaiah 29:13, “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.’”
No, not me either.
I had to go into work early to set up for a meeting, and I was flipping stations on the radio and came across the now-deceased pastor of a very, very large congregation in our area. I stopped on the broadcast, and heard the SAME verse from Isaiah as I’d read earlier in the morning, but used in a different context. He coupled it with the passages out of Revelation about churches being lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – and a different word immediately sprang to mind.
It’s basically the same thing, isn’t it? It isn’t hot. It isn’t cold. It’s just room temperature.
How does something get to that state we call “room temperature?” By adjusting to the environment around it.
You heard me.
That’s how we become room temperature in our relationship with God – lukewarm, if you will – by not affecting the environment around us, but by letting it affect us.
As I listened to that pastor that morning, his words rang in my ears.
“You don’t commit adultery, but you laugh at raunchy jokes.”
“You don’t tell big lies, but you tell little white lies like telling someone you can’t stand that you’re glad to see them.”
Lord, don’t let me become like that room temperature coffee in my cup this morning, that when I topped it off with hot liquid turned that into a tepid mess. Don’t let those “little things” that I think don’t mean much eat away at my passion for You, making me think that good enough is good enough.
Because it isn’t.
Not hot. Not cold. Just lukewarm.