15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
The American culture is historically one of independence. It’s been that way for over 240 years where we’ve done what was necessary when necessary, not waiting or depending on others. Perhaps pushing the frontier west is the illustration most used for our independence streak. It seems there’s a mindset where we personally don’t think we need help. This attitude of ‘we’ll do it ourselves’ seems to bleed into our faith, diminishing our sense of dependence on the Lord. This sometimes manifests itself in our working hard to make ourselves acceptable to God.
In Colorado, if you really think about it, we have a culture all our own. Most polls about healthy places to live put Colorado in the top ten, and it’s easy to see why. The majestic vistas greeting us every morning and blazing their departure every evening draw us out of our homes, even in winter. All hours of the day bring runners and bicyclists out, sometimes in droves. The hard-core venture out in the worst of weather. All these wonderful, beautiful things we enjoy in our surroundings sometimes begin to cloud the vision of our soul to where we are more interested in these things than serving our Lord in all that we do.
Could this be what Jesus was referring to when he told the Laodicean church they were lukewarm, worthy only of being thrown out? Had all the trade coursing through Laodicea, along with all the differing races, cultures and practices, led them to believe they needed no one? Was God some ornamental fixture to be worshipped when convenience dictated? Does this sound familiar?
As the day passes, perhaps it would do us well to consider the following. What if a very dear, trusted friend came to you and spoke verse 17 to you in a personal way? What would your reaction be, defensive or repentant? As might be expected, there are Old Testament examples to learn from. Read about Saul’s defensive reaction in 1 Samuel 13:8-14, and David’s repentant reaction in 2 Samuel 12:1-13, and consider your own reaction.
By Rich Obrecht