Opinions on faith and life

Lukewarm

2009-10-19

I’ve written much about the great aversion to doctrine prevalent among professing Christians today, but I think the heart of this problem is that, as a group, we have forgotten who God is. God, even among those who allegedly know better, has been reduced to the white light at the end of a tunnel, a force to be manipulated, a tyrant to be appeased, a nice feeling, or an ultimate fighter, depending on one’s personal taste (or lack thereof).

And it follows that such a God doesn’t really care what we do for the most part. If you’re okay with yourself then God must be okay with you too. Gone are the lines over which most Christians used to never dare crossing; they’ve been replaced with a kind of “bell curve” that is mostly drawn in comparison with other people instead of God. As long as you’re not as bad as someone else, or as bad as you could be, then anybody who tries to ruin your fun is a legalist.

Now you know I think many Christians don’t allow enough room for personal convictions and wish to dictate every detail of our lives. But one extreme is no better than another; it is no more spiritual to throw holiness to the wind than it is to micromanage people. But between the two extremes is an alarming number of professing believers who simply don’t give a rip about much of anything, just happy to drift along and take samples from every belief system out there.

I see it all the time, especially online. People that I know are believers think nothing of dabbling in occult practices. Many seem to be enthralled with images of darkness and violence. Most can cuss like a drunken sailor and hardly notice when their “entertainment” is more like psychological conditioning to desensitize people to sadism and porn. They have forgotten how high Jesus set the bar, to the point where the “Christian” life is more like doing the limbo: “how low can you go?”

How can we have the Holy Spirit in us while we laugh about ghosts and witches, watch slasher movies or immoral sitcoms, and basically wallow in the sewer spiritually? Are there “rooms in our house” (places in our mind) that we’d rather keep locked and hope God doesn’t have a key? How can we say we love God while we harbor such evil? Is it because we have lost our senses and can no longer detect it?

This is no new problem, but that condemns us all the more:

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm— neither hot nor cold— I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ’I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. —Rev. 3:15-17

Does Jesus really matter to you? Can anyone tell?

4 Comments

truthseeker

Paula, this is an outstanding post, simple yet profound because it is sooo true. I had this discussion recently with relatives and was told that because they were not offended by watching R rated movies (usually for violence and peeks at flesh) and because the commenter enjoyed ’good stories’ like those in these movies and books like Harry Potter, it was ok to watch them. I wondered that the person’s conscience wasn’t pricked by watching and reading such things. Even amongst ’fundamentalists’ such viewing habits are not entirely foreign.

Keep up the good sermons and wake-up calls!

Paula Fether

Tanx! And I wrote it more out of grief than anger. It just pains me to see people I know and have been friends with for many years sinking into the mud. I need to keep examining my own habits too of course, but it isn’t as hard as people might think to give up these mixtures of good and evil. I remember when I felt convicted about some albums I had as a teen, and even though there really wasn’t any clean alternative at the time, I threw them out. Movies are still a problem though, partly because not all the adults here (wink wink) are on the same page. I get complaints about "oh, come on, it’s not that bad!", but it has to be done.

lydia

Absolutely, I agree with every word. And to be honest there are times I have tried the secular movie world and if I do not walk away feeling dirty, there is something wrong.

I cannot judge others for this but I can sure warn them that if this stuff does not convict them at all, then they should fear for their very souls.

Even amusing ourselves with so much entertainment has become an addiction and an idol.

Paula Fether

Good point about our attitude toward the desensitized. We need to remember that the focus is to be on what grieves Jesus, not on what grieves us. As I’ve mentioned in other writings, how can we so easily see that it’s wrong to continually irritate people we claim to love, yet be so blind about continually irritating the One we claim to love above all others? We honor people more than God.

And you’re right of course about entertainment. Whether it’s sports or video games or YouTube, people spend every free minute on amusements. There’s a place for that but we give it way too much emphasis.