■ Susan Beckett / Contributed
Has anything like this ever happened to you? You’re out shopping and find this amazing new outfit, on sale no less. You wear it for an entire day – at work, seeing a few friends for lunch and finally ending up at the grocery store before heading home. You walk through your front door and happen to glance in the mirror and see it. A big ol’ sales tag hanging down from under your right armpit. Then you’re like: you’ve gotta be kidding!
Your entire day flashes before your eyes – how could you have missed this oversight and just how many people saw that big tag and said nothing? Isn’t that frustrating? When you think everything is okay, only to find out it’s not.
If this, or anything like it, has ever happened to you, then you have a lot in common with the church at Laodicea mentioned in the Book of Revelations. They thought they were fine. They had the look — they claimed to know God, but lived as though He didn’t exist in many areas of their lives.
Before long they hear from God, and trust me, He’s not happy with them. Here’s what He writes: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold or 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” (Rev 3:15-16). By the way, the King James translators were apparently too timid to give the exact translation of the ‘spit’ word. In the Greek version, it’s actually vomit. As I mentioned, God was not happy with these lukewarm folks.
Laodicea, it seems, had a huge water problem: they didn’t have enough. So they piped in water through aqueducts from two other cities; one had incredibly hot waters and the other was known for its soothing cold waters. But by the time the waters made it to Laodicea, the water had turned ugly – it was dirty, tepid and, you guessed it – lukewarm. It tasted so bad that it literally made people sick. So Jesus wrote to them about their spiritual apathy in the context the people could well understand. Yucky lukewarm people get yucky lukewarm water. Those are the facts!
So what to do about it? First, get their attention. Apparently God accomplished that with His letter to them. And imbedded in this remarkable letter, God begins to tell them just how much He loves them: “The people I love, I call to account – prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet then! About face! Run after God.” (Vs 19)
God wants each of us living the best life possible and that’s definitely not living lukewarm. Way too often we settle for lukewarm instead of going for God’s highest and best in our lives. I actually knew a girl once who admitted she settled on a marriage partner thinking this guy was the only guy who would ever propose to her. So how was their marriage? Lukewarm!
Unfortunately, lukewarm people don’t seek God before making major decisions in their lives. Too bad because God’s way is always the best way! I always tell people that God won’t bless what you won’t give to Him. I sure don’t want a lukewarm marriage, lukewarm kids, a lukewarm job or lukewarm whatever. You fill in the blank.
And finally, Jesus moves in with this well known verse: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” The amazing thing about this verse is that it’s written to Christ followers, not unbelievers! The Laodicean Christians had shut God out of their lives thus leaving them living a lukewarm spiritual life at best. They had literally slammed the door on the best God had for them.
Most of you remember Sean Connery; he was a handsome, dashing actor who played Agent 007 in six James Bond movies. Someone once asked him, as he grew older, why he continued to act in films when he could be retired and sitting on a beach in the Bahamas. He gave a pretty interesting reply: “I continue to act because it gives me the opportunity to be somebody better than I am.”
I think we all want to be better and the good news is that we don’t have to “act” in order to achieve “better.” We just need to open that closed door and turn every area of our lives over to Jesus Christ, because He always has more and He always has better. Always!
Pastors Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street, Hemet. For more information, visit them at DPCityChurch.com