Within the Western Church we hear the term "lukewarm" often. The dictionary tells us that lukewarm means being moderately warm or tepid; or having little ardor, zeal, or enthusiasm; being lukewarm is the same as being indifferent. Is the Church, as a whole, becoming lukewarm?
I firmly believe that whether a Christian is living their life to their full potential in Christ or they are somewhat lacking in the enthusiasm area, Jesus has still saved them. However, I also firmly believe that the only way we are going to make a change in this world is by living radical, counter-cultural lives.
Has the Church become too lukewarm on too many issues? Have we watered down the gospel to appeal to a wider audience? Have we loosened our morals and teachings to gain the approval of others? Sadly, I believe the answer to those questions is far too often a yes.
The truth is people are searching for ways to fill the gap that only Jesus can fill. Throughout history, humans have notoriously searched for pleasure and satisfaction in all of the wrong places. But these places only offer a temporary, weak “filling” of what is missing and they are never able to fill us up completely. This is so evident, especially in Western society, when we see mankind always wanting more; the next big social event, that next fashion statement, drinking just that little bit more, partying a little bit harder, getting that next guy or girl…the list goes on.
And if we, as Christians, are only lukewarm about our faith, the rest of humanity won’t see how Jesus is relevant to their everyday life. How Jesus can not only save them from all of that but also continue to save them on an everyday basis. We can’t pretend to be perfect, to have it all together, to never fall into temptation, because the truth is that whilst we are living on earth we will still face all of those things. But with each decision I make, I realize that I am only truly satisfied and living how I was created to live when I am living with Jesus right beside me and choosing Him above everything else.
Jesus Himself was completely counter-cultural. He caused disputes, divisions, and high amounts of controversy. But that is exactly what drew people in. Living radically causes many people to walk away, but it is also what causes many people to come to faith. This world is desperately crying out for God and it doesn’t even know it. We must live a radical, counter-cultural, controversial life to make a change. It really is the only way. And the people who stomp off in anger are often more touched by the way we live our lives than they let on. You can never be sure what impact you are having on someone’s life.
We need to stand solidly on the foundations of God’s word, never changing or bending the truth to please people, but consistently showing them that they are loved beyond measure, created with a purpose, and more worthy than they will ever be able to comprehend. That is how you change the world.
I often wonder why it is that Western Christians aren’t suffering the levels of persecution we see elsewhere in the world. Of course, it is partly to do with the fact that we have a much fairer judicial system, where for the most part, we can exercise our faith in freedom. However, I can’t help but think that it is also because we aren’t living radically enough.
If we were made to live in some of the most persecuted countries of the world, would we be as bold as our brothers and sisters who live there right now, suffering all kinds of horrendous persecution for their faith? Would we stand firm to the point of death? To the point of facing a masked firing squad, watching as our children are taken away from us? Would we be as bold enough to say something like:
“Despite all my suffering I love God with my whole heart. I am so grateful for Him."
(Chun, North Korean refugee - http://www.opendoorsuk.org/persecution/country_profiles.php)
Jesus has overcome death. That means that whatever comes our way, whether it be losing friends because of our faith, or facing the possibility of death every single day, we have overcome it all. When the power, grip, and terror of death are taken away, there is literally nothing that can stand in the way of us living our lives as radically as Jesus did.
One day, all of this will disappear - political systems, governments, companies, celebrities, persecution, difficulties, mourning, sadness, sin, terror, fear - it is all temporary. The only thing that is permanent is the Kingdom of God.
So whom are you living for?
You can find out more about the top 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian here:
Alice is 18 and from England. She gave her life to Jesus about 5 years ago, and was baptized in July 2015. She feels that she is called to creative evangelism after receiving many prophecies from various people. She's a keen musician, photographer, writer, and speaker, and she hopes to involve all of these passions when sharing the love of Jesus to the world. She looks forward to moving to a city to attend university, engrossing herself in youth culture and wider communities.