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No More Lukewarm: How to Be a Good Steward of the Personal Transformation You Experience in the Wilderness—Day 5

October 23, 2020 | Ashley Denton

No More Lukewarm | Revelation 3:14-22

Welcome to Day 5 in a 5-day series on what it looks like to be “All in with Jesus.” Let’s not be lukewarm! If you are catching up, the last 4 days have talked about:
1. The unintended consequences of dipping your toes in with Jesus,
2. The fact that belief in an unchanging Gospel will help us not to sit on the fence,
3. The joy we get to experience by following Jesus, even when it is uncomfortable, and
4. The power that seeking God’s Kingdom has over our worry and anxiety.

Today, as we head down the mountain back into the valley of normal life, we want to circle back to the idea of diving in versus being lukewarm in the way we follow Jesus. Any time I am preparing to return to the valley of life after several days in the wilderness, I spend a good bit of time being intentional to make a plan for how I am going to re-enter. Days in the wilderness have a way of slowing down our pace, restoring a sense of appreciation for frugality and simplicity, helping us care more for others and take our thoughts off of ourself, making us more humble, and from spending ample time alone with God we are reminded profoundly that we are not alone.

With all of this incredible transformation that has taken place in the wilderness, we need to think about how to be good stewards of how the Potter has shaped us, so that when we re-enter the valley we don’t fall off of the shelf and shatter all of the intricate work he has done on us, his clay. So today we are going to think practically and make some commitments for our return. First, let’s read together Revelation 3:14-22:

To the Church in Laodicea

14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. 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. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Reflection Questions

  • What do you think Jesus might have meant by the church being neither hot nor cold? Can you think of some potential examples of lukewarmness that they may have been struggling with?
    • Maybe they lacked passion or were overly concerned with the cares of the world.
    • Were they struggling to make a name for themselves rather than doing all for the glory of Jesus’ name?
    • Maybe they had a tendency to doubt rather than to exercise faith?
    • Or were they just lazy or lacking character or bravery?
    • Or maybe they were blinded by good intentions: they could talk the talk but lacked the resolve to implement what they knew God was asking them to do.
    • Or might they have been tethered to worldly comforts?
    • Or could it have simply been that they were worriers, trapped by the deceit of wealth or desires for things that choked out the power of the Word in their lives?
    • What do you think might have been lukewarm about this church?
    • What might be lukewarm about you? What is lukewarm about your church?
  • How does it make you feel that God disciplines those he loves, like in the example of his discipline mentioned in this letter (read Hebrews 12:3-12 below)? Can you see his discipline as a fierce kind of love toward you? What are some reasons why you think God disciplines those he loves?

“3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:3-12)

  • Where might you be lukewarm in following Jesus?
    • How would you rate your passion for worship, the study of God’s Word, prayer, and telling others about the Good News of Jesus?
    • How might the cares of the world be making you lukewarm specifically?
  • To be “all in with Jesus” means to not sit on the fence. Jesus wants his church to not be lukewarm. What commitment do you think Jesus is asking of you as you go back to the valley? Where do you need to get off the fence? After a time of reflection ask Jesus to give you the grace and strength to follow through on your commitment, and tell a friend so you have some friendly accountability.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Denton’s blog was originally posted on his website as “No More Lukewarm: How to Be a Good Steward of the Personal Transformation You Experience in the Wilderness—Day 5”

Ashley Denton

Professor of Outdoor Leadership & World Mission

Author of Christian Outdoor Leadership: Theology, Theory, and Practice, Dr. Ashley Denton serves as a professor of Outdoor Leadership & World Mission at […]

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