I lay in bed not wanting to face another day of adulting. The constant fight with disappointments and setbacks has left me sore and exhausted. They try to pull me back into darkness, where dreams and hopes die. The temptation to give up is so great. Complacency slithers towards me, twisting all around me. The more I fight to break free, the tighter its grip. I feel its razor teeth sink inside my flesh, releasing its venom of lies, doubt and confusion. It whispers, “it’s ok to give up,” as the venom courses through my soul, paralyzing me. Its words taste sweet in my mouth but turns bitter as it goes down.
I pull the covers from my face and sit up in bed. Where did my fire go? I used to burn with the love of God and passion for His word in my belly. The fire kept the darkness away. It fueled me with the strength to fight. Now, I only feel a few glowing embers. “Lord, I think I’m dying,” I cry out. How did this happen? Didn’t I pray, fast and read your word every day?”
After a few more minutes in full pity party mode, I sat quietly, waiting. I would like to say it was because I came to my senses, but it was really because I had tired myself out. Mercifully, the Lord answered in that quiet moment. He told me to meet Him in His word. Whenever He tells me this, I know I’m in trouble. He had grown tired of my foolishness. So, I obediently pulled out my Bible and He led me to the book of Revelations. Oh Boy!
He led me to read chapter two. In it, the Lord addresses the church of Ephesus. He starts off by telling them what they are doing that pleases Him. They knew His word, they labored to do His will and they had patience and didn’t faint. Then He goes on to tell them what displeases Him. Revelations 2:4 says, “nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” (KJV)
As if this wasn’t painful enough for me to read, He directed me to jump to Revelations 3:14-22. In this section He addresses the church of the Laodiceans. He says in Revelations 3:15-16, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (KJV)
Have I really started to turn away from my first love, Jesus? Am I becoming lukewarm? No, this can’t be, I pray, read and fast. I don’t willfully sin. Then the Lord brought to my remembrance how lately I’ve been spending less and less time praying. How I’ve been rushing through His word. I even remembered one of the goals for this year was to post on the blog every week yet, it’s the end of March and I hadn’t written or posted a thing. I truly was slipping away from God and into the arms of complacency. What do I do, Lord?
God, being merciful, again led me to His word. This time to Revelations 3:19 which says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent.” In Revelations 2:5, He says, “remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.” (KJV)
I am so thankful God was merciful enough to chasten me. I had been slowly turning away from my first love and the works He has called me to do. My turning away was causing me to become lukewarm. I was no longer passionate and zealous for the things of God. He called me to encourage others and I was barely encouraging myself. He called me to love others and I was barely loving myself. Complacency was leading me into a selfish place.
As I look at the world I live in, I see so much pain. While I know I can’t relieve all the pain, I can do my part. Could it be the reason some don’t believe in a loving God is because those called by His name have also turned away from their first love? Has our turning away caused us to become lukewarm and to stop caring for the things God cares for, which are people?
We see people in need and don’t provide them from that which God has provided us. We see people cry out for justice and we turn a blind eye. We see oppression and remain silent. We were called to be a light in the darkness. Where is the fire?
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 ESV