Let's take a look at Revelation 3:15-21, where we find this reference to being lukewarm. Jesus is describing the faith of those in the Laodicean church in the harshest terms possible. "'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne." (Learn more about the historical context here.)
Lukewarm water is neither hot nor cold and therefore not that useful. It's not hot enough to bathe in, and it's not cold enough to drink. Bathing in lukewarm water doesn't make for a very satisfying shower; drinking lukewarm water makes a person sick to the stomach. Thus, in this metaphor, Jesus is saying to either be on fire for God as you serve Him or be utterly cold and reject Him. A lukewarm faith makes Him want to "spit you out of my mouth." Did you get that? Jesus would rather people reject Him than have a lukewarm faith! Lukewarm faith sickens Him!
When we serve God through our words or actions with a "hot" faith, we find ourselves very excited about doing His will. On the flipside, if our faith is "cold," that means we're rejecting God's will and following our own choice of path instead. Being a "lukewarm Christian" is when we say that we believe in God and His teachings, but then we don't live our lives in such a way that proves our beliefs.
We could be witnessing and preaching the gospel as much as we can, throwing Bible verses at people and telling them about Jesus, but if we are living a life of sin (or even apathy), continuing bad habits, living in bitterness or hatred, etc., our words are going to fall short and be meaningless to anyone. The people you talk to about Jesus will think, "She says she's a Christian, but look at how she lives."
So how do you stop being lukewarm? It's right there in verse 19: "be zealous and repent!" Being a zealous Christian means that you have great energy or enthusiasm about doing the will of God in your life. And of course, "repent" means that you decide to turn away from sin when it tempts you.
Practically speaking, there are a few easy things we can do to help heat up our faith to the desired hotness. Pray. Read your Bible. Pray some more! Serve others. Love others. Love God and everything He does. Be forgiving. Be merciful. Truly care about others more than yourself. Talk to God regularly and ask Him for direction in all things.
It's important to note that works or good deeds cannot earn your salvation. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you have already been saved. But your salvation status doesn’t mean that you can live however you want either. God still has a way He wants His children to live; He wants you to be a light in the darkness, salt to the earth (Matthew 5:13-17) so that your life just screams that it is different. And it's how you live your life that will cause people to ask you questions about why you are the way you are. This is a great opportunity to talk to them about your faith in Christ. Hopefully, those conversations will be the seeds God can use to draw them to Him (John 6:44). The way you live your life is the biggest part of your witness as a Christ follower!
Being a "lukewarm Christian" is when we say that we believe in God and His teachings, but then we don't live our lives in such a way that proves our beliefs. Jesus says to either be on fire for God as you serve Him or be utterly cold and reject Him (Revelation 3:15-21). A lukewarm faith makes Him want to "spit you out of my mouth." When we serve God through our words or actions with a "hot" faith, we are very excited about doing His will. If our faith is "cold," that means we're rejecting God's will and following our own path instead.
Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org and loves to write novellas with local young writers at her workshops. She also contributes at GotQuestions.org, Blogos.org, and GQkidz.org. When Catiana is not writing or hanging out with teens, she loves spending time with her two kids, five socially awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.