A word that gets tossed around Christian circles a lot is lukewarm. Why is it being tossed around like some sort of wrapped parcel filled with guilt? Today I was listening to a song by Sleeping at Last, and it talked about the color of gray in a Christian’s life. Grey being the color of lukewarmness. Neither hot or cold. Black or white. And something he said really struck a chord with me, and I want to point a few things out on the subject.
First, I think we have put the term in the completely wrong light. We see the condition of being lukewarm as the place where sin and faith join hand in hand with each other. We believe that the lukewarm person is the one who spends his Sunday in church, and then goes to bars and drinks himself to sleep on every other day of the week.
Really, that’s completely the wrong view, for a number of reasons. First off, we don’t know the guy’s heart (I’m not pointing at anyone in particular here), nor do we know his reasons for going to the bar and jumping into the world of drunkenness. The term of being lukewarm has been used by countless people to say that they’re out of line and have fallen away from God. We act like God is some sort of goal we need to reach, and if we don’t do good, we’re not going to be close to Him. It’s no wonder people are falling into the “dreaded” gray area all the time.
But here’s the thing. We have taken the term “lukewarm” so far out of context from the Word that we use it to make other’s feel horrible about their condition. The lukewarm condition the Bible speaks about is regarding the heart of the person. When one willingly sins and wants to follow God. That’s what the Bible speaks of, and that’s when you’ll be spat out of God’s mouth, as the Bible says. If it was based on how much we sin, honestly, we’re all cold.
I want to argue something now, and you reading may not agree, but I think the color gray, the area between black and white, is a beautiful place. Let me explain. The condition of the color gray is about the heart, not about the actions. If we go back to the drunkard we talked about before, we find that he actually hates his sin. But yet he still indulges in it. We’ll continue his story soon, but when our hearts are pointing towards God, the gray, or “lukewarm” area is one of the best places to be.
The song mentioned before says that, “Gray is not a compromise, it is a bridge between two sides.” It says that we’re constantly in a state of change. We’re constantly maturing and changing and heading towards that other side. The gray state of a Christian’s life is the most reckless in God’s eyes, the song says. When your heart is set on Him, the gray area is the most daring and lovely in God’s eyes. Why? Because we’re in a state of change for Him. We want to begin the process of change in our lives because we want to be more like Him. When we begin to lay down our sinful desires and begin down the gray path, the bridge of change, that’s when our relationship with God truly comes alive.
Change isn’t something that happens overnight. We don’t go to sleep an alcoholic and wake up in a completely different condition. Change is slow and takes time, and God is walking right beside us.
And then this answers the question of why there’s evil in the world. Why there is darkness and despair. It’s when going through those things that relationships and commitments make sense. Love becomes real when it’s lifting someone up from brokenness. Love becomes real when it hurts with one another. Love becomes real when we look at the cross. The place of brokenness. Love comes alive when it’s shown to another. We can’t pull ourselves up from the mud, we need someone to lift us up. We can’t get through that state of gray on our own. It’s in that time where God is most real to us. He always meets us at our brokenness, not when we’re walking the white line.
So let’s go back to the drunkard. We know he hates his sin now, but we don’t know why he still falls for it every night. The answer is that people want to find comfort, and they will look for it anywhere. If they find comfort in alcohol, that’s where they will go. Same goes for other addictions and sins. People find comfort in drugs, sex and pornography, and even occultic practices. They’re looking for something we can’t seem to provide. The truth is, these people want to change, and in reality, their hearts have already past the gray area.
God looks at the heart, and we’ve crossed the bridge when we hate our sin, and yearn to follow, love, and obey Him. When we walk in love in His presence, that’s being on fire. That’s the white area. If you’re still struggling with drugs, or alcohol, or any addiction and sin remember that God’s walking by your side, and He’ll help you through. If you want Him, you’re not being lukewarm, you’re just walking across the bridge.
Cold is where we turn from love, gray is where we grow in love, and white is where we live in love. There’s no middle ground for the follower of Christ.