On Sunday we are looking at a passage of text that as a teenager was quite terrifying to me. The passage is found in Revelation 3 with the letter to the church of Laodicea. This is what it says:
“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 is why this passage scared me, because I always thought that Jesus was talking about my level of passion for him. As a teenager my passion for Jesus was rather low. I’m a thinker, and I’m slow to build trust and to engage in general. This meant that for my faith there were a lot of questions, thoughts, and decisions that took place over a long period before my passion grew. The problem was that I saw all these youth around me singing, dancing, and crying with passion for Jesus. These are not bad things at all, these are actually often very beautiful things. But when I came to that verse my worry was that I was lukewarm, that I wasn’t as passionate as those around me. I wasn’t really committed. I wasn’t really sure. I wasn’t very enthusiastic. I went to church but wasn’t completely in. My fear was that Jesus would spit me out because I wasn’t that “in love” with him.
Maybe you’ve had this fear too. Maybe you’ve sensed this at one point of another. Maybe you’ve even heard this verse taught this way. In fact, I have as well. The question is, does this interpretation of this verse make sense in light of who Jesus is? In the gospels does Jesus spit out those people who are lukewarm, questioning, struggling or unsure? Does Jesus really want us to be completely turned off to him rather than semi-interested? Is Jesus really that concerned with our emotional connection?
This is an important question because for many years I was concerned with amping up my passion, with generating deeper emotional enthusiasm for Jesus, to become hot rather than lukewarm. But as I’ve grown, and matured and dug into this verse I’ve discovered something startling that I believe is true. Jesus cares much more about our actions than our passion. Jesus cares much more about how we live than our emotional enthusiasm. And on Sunday we are going to unpack that idea and how once we dig into this verse we realize Jesus isn’t talking just about passion, enthusiasm and connection. Jesus is really talking about being useful, being active, and partnering with him.
And on Sunday we are going to ask a really important question that is reflecting on even today. Rather than asking “how passionate are you for Jesus?”, we are going to be asking, “how active are you in following Jesus?”. So come Sunday we are going to be unpacking this whole passage realizing that it’s not just our passions Jesus is interested in but our actions.