What is being “lukewarm” in relationship with God?

Today, I want to discuss an aspect of being in relationship with God that I personally didn’t understand for a long time.  I didn’t really understand what it meant to be “lukewarm”, but I always read our text today with a little bit of concern.  

I used to think… If I sin and then ask for forgiveness and then do the same thing again, will I eventually become “lukewarm”?  Will my actions which appear to be going between hot and cold cause me to be spewed out of God’s mouth??

I didn’t really understand what being lukewarm was, but all I knew is I didn’t want to be it. 

Main Takeaway

If you don’t hear anything else that I say in this post, hear this….

Being lukewarm is to use your salvation and freedom as an opportunity to seek after the things of this world freely seeking only personal gain (financial wealth, health and prosperity). 

Is it wrong to be prosperous? Absolutely not, the problem comes when we love money and try to play both sides and use God to get us all the things we want, but we don’t want to do anything that God asks us to do.  

Our Text

15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Revelations 3:15-17 KJV

“Lukewarm” defined

This word “lukewarm” is only used one place in the entire Bible, but the concept runs throughout all of the text.

To understand what Jesus is really saying, we have to understand a little bit about who He is talking to.  Jesus is rebuking the church at Laodicea (a banking city in modern day Turkey). 

See they had plenty of wealth.  They were well versed in the word of God.

How do I know this? Because the Apostle Paul started this church and wrote many letters to them.

  • Paul wrote Colossians and told them to send it to this church (Colossians 4:15-16).
  • He wrote 1 Timothy while in Laodicea. 
  • And Paul wrote a letter to Laodicea specifically (Colossians 4:16).

So when Jesus says that the church at Laodicea is “lukewarm”, this word is the the Greek word “chliaros” (see Strong’s Greek 5513). 

tepid, lukewarm: metaphorically, of the condition of a soul wretchedly fluctuating between a torpor and a fervor of love,

Chliaros (see Strong’s Greek 5513)

Jesus is talking about reaching a place of comfort that causes them to be complacent.  They no longer care because they have no need.  “17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; …” (Revelations 3:15-17 KJV)

This church was so comfortable that they lost their drive to learn more of God.  The city was extremely wealthy.  They were the bankers and merchants.  By extension the church became extremely wealth (any place the Word is preached becomes this way because with the Word always comes prosperity).

See https://leonmauldin.blog/2014/06/18/laodicea-a-wealthy-city-a-poor-church/ 

Dangers of Prosperity

Listen God wants us to be prosperous.  The danger is when we put our money over God. 

Jesus spoke about this very thing in His sermon on the mount. 

24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Matthew 6:24 KJV

I think this really the only thing that needs to be said on this subject.  When you have money and can’t give it away, you don’t have money, money has you.  

How do we combat this? Become a HUGE giver.

What being “lukewarm” in our relationship with God is NOT

Lukewarm isn’t the same thing as being carnal.

Remember when I said in my youth I was concerned about sinning and going back to God then sinning and going back to God.  I thought that I was being lukewarm.  Truth is I was being carnal.  I was letting my flesh rule me.  Which isn’t the way to life and peace either, but it isn’t lukewarm.

Lukewarm isn’t the same thing as being double minded.

In the same way I can remember reading James 1 where it talks about being double minded.  I thought that to sin one day and repent the next would be considered double mindedness, but that’s not what God was saying there either.  

Double mindedness is saying or acting one way when the whole time you truly believe something else.  You’re talking the talk the whole time thinking,

This will never work…I’m done for….

How to combat being “lukewarm” in our relationship with God

  1. Become an extravagant giver.  – Give over and above what you feel like giving.  
  2. Set your affections on the Lord. – Spend time seeking after God and thinking about God.
  3. Reduce the amount of time you spend thinking about money or pleasures.  In fact, God tells us NOT to spend time thinking about money. (Matthew 6:31)

The thing about many people today – including myself – is that our needs are met.  We aren’t looking for our next meal or rent check.  We have all we need.  If we aren’t careful, we can become complacent.  THAT is where we become a candidate for lukewarm behavior.  

It’s easy to press into God in the bad times, but what about the good times when all is going well?  What about then?

Think about all the things that the Laodicean church was happy with.  That city doesn’t even exist anymore!  That church is in ruins.  You can see that it didn’t last.  This is exactly what Jesus was saying.  They didn’t even realize that they had nothing real to last them.

I never want to be content with where I’m at with God.  What about you? I want to seek after all He has for me.

For more posts like this one check out last week’s post.

❤️ We are in relationship with God by Love