Friday, December 24, 2010

Lukewarm Lovers and a Relentless God

In the book of Revelation, Jesus addresses the church at Laodicea: “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:14-16).

The church at Laodicea is lukewarm: The believers do not blatantly reject Jesus, but they have no zeal or ardent love for Christ. Such a state is not tolerable. In fact, it is appalling—so much so Christ threatens to spit the lukewarm believers out of His mouth.

Jesus continues: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17). These believers claim to be rich, but they are utterly impoverished. They have forsaken the true Treasure for the fleeting treasures of this world. They desire the gifts more than the Giver.

How can such a state be overcome? Lukewarmness is cured by Christ alone: “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 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 3:18-20). Notice Christ does not call the believers to work harder or attempt to muster up passion. Rather, He urges the believers to accept Him into their hearts. He urges them to be with Him.

When we are in relationship with Christ we cannot be lukewarm. It is impossible. All is rubbish compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ. His love is better than life.

The church is the bride of Christ. A bride does not have halfhearted love for her groom. Rather, she longs ardently to be with her lover—so much so that her heart and mind are bent towards her groom. In the same way, our love for Christ ought to be zealous. We ought to long to be in His presence and we ought to wait in anticipation for His return.

Christ is relentlessly pursuing His bride. May we, the bride, respond to His relentless pursuit. May He cure our wretchedness and present us to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

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