This past summer, we visited a small, new church plant in the country.
Dave and I are contemporary worship music junkies [can’t get enough of this and this song right now!] and by the looks of their website, they were bound to wow us with their “performance.” [aka: move us emotionally, bringing us into a space where we feel God’s presence amongst the congregation and in us]
What I didn’t expect what one of the bluntest, most pointed sermons I’d heard in a long time. Truth be told, it was exactly what I needed to hear!
As I opened my bible this morning, to commence my home work for the Seeking Grace Women’s Study, my notes from this message fell in my lap and as I quickly refreshed my memory, I realized like always, it’s timing was prefect. The 7 habits of highly effective LUKEWARM christians, were some of the exact areas in which we, in the study, felt STUCK.
You know you’re a lukewarm christian when you….
1. Date the Church
Believing the church exists to meet your needs and wants [be it the preacher, worship style, programs or service atmosphere and amenities] and if you don’t like it, you’ll just leave.
2. Don’t Commit
Bare minimum, if anything in terms of offering your time [sunday dates only thanks] , your efforts [serving and volunteering], your resources [tithing and contributions] and your loyalty [never pledging membership or being baptized] .
3. Distrust God
Trusting your wealth [money and/or financial stability] , your possessions [finding security and seeking comfort in your environment, home and assets, rather than in God, his truths and his plan for your life /future] and your own abilities [I can take care of myself, do it on my own, my way and provide for myself and my family], over the one who’s made you that way and given you the very things your trusting in instead of him.
4. Pray Dumb Prayers
Your prayers revolve around yourself – your problems, needs and wants from God- rather than asking what you can do for God, how you can be a blessing to others or praying for others who could use your prayers and support.
Praying on auto- pilot or out of guilt, as if it were a checklist item [hurrying something as you rush out the door and don’t registering what you said, but hey, at least you prayed!] rather than a personal talk with your Father.
Approaching God timidly, rather than with bold, scary prayers, trusting him with your deepest hurts, biggest dreams and honest feelings, be them small and trivial or huge and all-consuming.
5. Don’t care
Not seeing your own brokenness as spiritually bankrupt and being blinded by your strengths and worldly involvement. “I’m ok and God accepts me. Plus he’ll just forgive me when I ask…”
6. Don’t reach out
Structuring your life around your own to-do’s and desires, never leaving room to help, serve or introduce others to Christ.
7. Don’t repent
Feeling bad about your shortcomings but never to the point of action; continuously making excuses for your sin and comparing yourself to others sin in an effort to make yourself “feel better” and “not as bad or in need of Jesus” as others.
Friends, please note, nowhere does it say “doesn’t follow the rules!” And I say this as much for myself as I do for you. Jesus did NOT come so that we could have a religion, but that we may know him intimately and have a personal relationship with him.
I share this not to condemn us, but simply to bring into light the reality of our hearts condition. We’re arrogant, prideful, selfish and many times fail to see our need for God in every way! If nothing else, this list should show us our sin and bring us to true repentance- to a place where we can acknowledge how broken we are and how desperately we need God to change and refine us.
Because no matter how hard we try, we cannot change on our own and we’ll inevitably keep coming back, finding ourselves in this list. But with God’s grace and love, he promises to finish the work he started in us and give us everything we need to do his will.
All he needs is our surrender. It’s time we take an honest look at ourselves and confess our areas of lukewarm christianity…..