The Lukewarm Believer

bored believerI recently read this quote by Francis Chan in his wildly successful book, Crazy Love:

“Lukewarm people love God, but they do not love him with all their heart, soul, and strength. They would be quick to assure you that they try to love God that much, but that sort of total devotion isn’t really possible for the average person; it’s only for pastors and missionaries and radicals” (Crazy Love, p. 73).

Chan is a firm believer in the fact that the lukewarm believer is the biggest threat to the future growth of the Church. He goes straight to Jesus’ words in Revelation to back up this claim:

“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 out out of my mouth.” —Revelation 3:15

Pretty definitive language from our Lord that he does not like when we are wishy-washy in our faith. We can’t get by with being “godly enough,” Chain says (Crazy Love, p. 67). We must be all in.

How do we go about going all in as Christians? Chan has some ideas:

Be about “crazy” love: Love those no one else loves. Love those who hurt you. Love those that seem unlovable. This is the kind of love that can be found nowhere else but through Christ.

Take risks. Don’t play it safe. Don’t do all you can to avoid pain or embarrassment or failure. Do whatever it takes to bring more people to the Kingdom of God.

Be a servant. Don’t shy away from serving others. Don’t consider service a burden. Seek out ways to serve people more.

Be rooted. Chan says the average Christian in the United States spends 10 minutes per day with God, but over four hours a day watching TV. We need to do all we can to flip that. Pray regularly and often. Read Scripture. Do devotions. Have blocks of time set aside for God.

All of this is, of course, a way for us to say “Thank you” to God for the “crazy” love he exhibited toward us to bring us salvation and life eternal with him. It is never about somehow bringing glory to ourselves. As Jesus himself said,

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

“All in” believers always point to God.

I confess that I feel the resistance welling up in me as I type each of these goals for combating the lukewarm Christianity within me. “I can’t do all that!” But if I just focus on one of these aspects this week and another next week, I will be well on my way to loving my Lord with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength.


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