Is your spiritual temperature hot or lukewarm?

Voices of Religion

Posted: Friday, January 05, 2007

Cold weather means some outdoor activities are more likely to take place.

When the ice is thick enough, some people enjoy skating and ice fishing on frozen ponds and lakes. Skiing, snowboarding, and snowmachine riding occur if snow is at suitable levels.

The old traditions of snowballs and snowmen are hard to resist. So are a hot cup of coffee, a good book and a warm house, which are my favorites when it gets cold out.

All the beauty of snow and frost don’t come alone, however.

The flu and the common cold show up to afflict many as well. Even more deadly are cases of frostbite and hypothermia.

High body temperatures are often indicative of a fever. These feverish temperatures and sickness are not enjoyable, to say the least.

That is when you really start wishing for a comfortable cruise or a warm vacation destination.

Perhaps these temperature extremes can help illustrate spiritual truths. Have you ever wondered why the passage in Revelation 3:15-16 mentions the Spirit’s preference of cold or hot over lukewarm?

Why is cold even mentioned as a preference? Maybe a person who is cold spiritually will be more likely to recognize the need for a change.

Repentance is basically a change. It means a change of heart, mind and lifestyle. Repentance is motivated by God and his goodness, as Romans 2:4 says, “The goodness of God leads you to repentance.”

The point at which water freezes is 32 degrees F and the boiling point of water is 212 degrees F. Interestingly enough, the difference between the point at which water freezes — 32 degrees — and the boiling point — 212 degrees — is 180 degrees.

The opposite ends of airport runways are 180 degrees apart as to compass headings. These two opposites of 180 degrees serve as good examples of repentance, the kind of change God wants to make in our lives.

Lukewarm is the one of the three temperatures that is rejected outright, evidenced by the Lord’s statement in Revelation 3:16: “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

Various translations render “spue thee out” more graphically as to spit out or to vomit out.

Obviously to be moderate is not God’s preference. He does not want his people to be spiritually lukewarm or lethargic.

He wants to comfort his people, not just make them comfortable.

Why was the church in Laodicea considered to be lukewarm? They assessed themselves as being rich, increased with goods and needing nothing.

What they didn’t know was that God’s evaluation of them was quite the opposite. His assessment showed they needed faith, righteousness and anointing. These components of Christian belief will lead to things heating up in service and devotion to God.

Hot seems to indicate spiritual health because of scriptures like Matthew 3:11 in which John the Baptist said Jesus will baptize with the “Holy Spirit and fire.”

This baptism happened in chapter two of the Book of Acts. The message renders Romans 12:11 this way: “Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.”

As the cold weather continues for a few more months, enjoy the activities the cold allows, and let it serve as a reminder to stay on fire in living for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Mitch Glover is pastor of the Sterling United Pentecostal Church on Swanson River Road at Entrada. Sunday school is at 10 a.m. and worship is at 11 a.m. Bible study and children’s church are at 7 p.m. Thursdays.

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