stories, lessons, and a lot of nonsense

be useful

There is a passage of Scripture that I have heard butchered numerous times, to the point that I now cringe when I hear someone begin talking about it from fear they will do the same.  The passage is in Revelations 3, when Jesus is talking to Laodicea.  Here’s what Jesus says:

15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!
       16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

Here’s what we’ve been told: God would rather have us far away from Him, deep in sin (cold) than to be wishy washy.  We’re told we should either be on fire for God or completely cold to Him.  What is happening here is people are translating the Bible using an American colloquial understanding of the words, rather than actually studying what it is saying.

Here’s some context: the water in Laodicea was lukewarm or tepid.  It wasn’t hot.  It wasn’t cold.  It wasn’t particularly drinkable, because lukewarm water isn’t satisfying.  You could use it, but you wouldn’t be pleased.  You could not, however, use it medicinally, because it just wasn’t hot enough.  In contrast, Hierapolis had very hot springs, and Colossae had very cold springs.  The hot water was very useful for medicinal or healing purposes, and the cold water was very useful for drinking or refreshing purposes.  Unlike lukewarm water, hot and cold serve a purpose.  Jesus is telling them that they are not serving a purpose: they neither bring healing or a refreshing spirit to those they meet.  They weren’t useful at all.

In your walk with God right now, are you hot or cold?  Do you bring God’s healing Word to people in need?  Are you compassionately available to those in pain?  Or maybe you are a refreshing spirit, one where people feel like they’ve met with God or been to church after talking with you?  Do you bring joy to people’s lives?  Maybe you do both, and that’s great, too.  But if you were to examine yourself, do you tend to do neither?  Do you bring nothing to the table?  That’s being a lukewarm Christian, and that is what is unpalatable to Jesus.  Don’t just skate by; be useful.

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