But how does a lukewarm person just “be zealous”? Isn’t that the problem—not being zealous? No! The problem is not perceiving the disease of which lukewarmness is a symptom. If you think all that you have is a cold, you may not think much of a fever. But if you find out that cancer is causing your fever, suddenly zeal is not a problem. Lukewarmness is a symptom of the cancer of unfaithful unbelief in the soul. If left untreated, it will result in an unspeakably horrible experience: Jesus will spew you out of his mouth (Revelation 3:16)—the one who fights and overcomes.
How does a lukewarm person repent? Don’t wait for some emotional muse. Repent right now! Turn around and get moving in the right direction. Take one step and then another. When it comes to repenting, rarely is our problem not knowing what to do. The Spirit shows us what to do if we want to repent. Our problem is wanting to repent. (To address that problem, read the above paragraph again.)
Grace to the Unfaithful
Jesus’ hard words of warning to the Laodiceans was grace. He wasn’t telling them to earn their salvation by being faithful. He was telling them that lukewarm unfaithfulness might be evidence that they didn’t have saving faith. It was a “you have cancer” moment. And he had the treatment. He was telling them to repent and come back to him for healing. That’s the grace he extends to most of us followers who, like Peter (Luke 22.60–62″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>Luke 22:60–62), fall at some time into the sin of unfaithfulness. Repentance is the evidence of real, if deficient, faith.
To remain faithful is not merely a struggle. It is war. To be faithful to God, our spouse, our children, our church and our vocation requires that we fight every day against the indwelling sin that presses us toward compromises. Don’t coddle little compromises. Kill them. Fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12) by fighting fiercely for fidelity.
Repentance becomes a holy habit of the faithful fighter. The sin of compromise is always crouching at our door and we must rule over it (Genesis 4:7).
In your thanksgiving, thank God for the grace of his hard words that, in kindness, lead you to repentance (Romans 2:4), repent of any greying of black and fight lukewarmness like the plague.