CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
Hot, cold, or in-between?
By Laurel J. Davis
See Laurel's blog at The Reluctant First Lady
Most people don't take freezing cold showers, and most people don't take scalding hot ones either. What most of us do is set the water temperature somewhere in the middle. Not too hot, and not too cold, but just right. Aaaaaahh! Nice, safe and comfy! It feels so good, we'd rather stay in that "comfort zone" forever than get out and get on with all the responsibilities that call to us from the day ahead. Oh, just five more minutes, please!
If we look honestly at Christians today, many of us live in that same sort of comfort zone. Not too hot, and not too cold, but just right. Not too "hot" where — ouch! — people (lost and saved) won't tolerate us if we don't chill out; and not too "cold" where — bbrrrrh! — we're ineffective for Christ or, worse, willing to compromise the Gospel; but right there in the middle where — aaaahhh! — supposedly nobody, especially us, can get hurt.
It feels pretty good. Safe and comfy. An in-between kind of zone we'd rather stay in forever than get out and get on with the responsibilities and challenges God is calling us to in these last days. His purpose is for us to grow stronger and bear more fruit for His glory. But while we acknowledge that's important, we still want just five more minutes, please!
As Christians, don't these last days tell us it's time to get out of that comfort zone? It's time to go ahead and make every effort to do and even endure everything God has purposed for us? There's God's work to be done, whatever it may be for each of us; and He expects us to do it, regardless of whether or not it's personally comfortable.
That work could be witnessing to lost loved ones, defending our faith, missionary work in a third world country, risking our jobs for the sake of telling the truth, being odd man out in social situations. Whatever the danger zone might be for any of us, it's time we stop being "neutral" Christians, "in-between" Christians, "middle-of-the road" Christians, "lukewarm" Christians.
What's wrong with being a "neutral" Christian? If for no other reason, Jesus says in Revelation 3:15-16:
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot, I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.Our extra five minutes is up!
So, let's be faithful, not neutral. Let's be "hot" about God's Kingdom: fervent, diligent, discerning, zealous, strong, bold, consistent. And let's be "cold" to anything that's contrary to living by His Word: resistant to temptation, unmoved, unshaken, uncompromising with the truth, led by the Spirit and not by the flesh, heavenly more than earthly minded, God-focused and not man-focused.
Looked at another way, let's be willing to endure ice cold shoulders from both the lost and from the carnally-minded and the backslider, and likewise endure the scalding heat of trials, tribulations and tests that are just as much a result of doing God's work as are the joys, blessings and lasting fruit.
Thankfully, for Christians, what seems to be the danger zone is actually the safest place to be. God our Savior — not the middle of the road — is our best strategy for protection. He is most trustworthy to shield us from harm, soothe our hurts and restore our peace. He gives us the strength to stand the cold or take the heat, come what may.
The next time you're in the shower, let the setting of the water be a reminder that doing God's work is really not supposed to be about what's comfortable for you. Instead, ask yourself, "How obedient am I going to be to my Lord and Savior by getting out of my own comfort zone and getting on with what He has called me to do, whatever the consequences?"
It's difficult to do. Very difficult. But all God wants is the effort, and with that effort comes promise:
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.(Galatians 6:9)
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13)
Image Credit: kelsey hannah; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | End-Times | Ministry-Church | Witnessing-Evangelism
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Published on 8-13-14