Monday, January 25, 2010

Still Wrestling With Lukewarm Christianity

"When I was in high school, I seriously considered joining the Marines; this was when they first came out with the commercials for "the few, the proud, the Marines." What turned me off was that in those advertisements, everyone was always running. Always. I hate running."

"But you know what? I didn't bother to ask if they would modify the rules for me so I could run less, and maybe also do fewer push-ups. That would've been pointless and stupid, and I knew it. Everyone knows that if you sign up for the Marines, you have to do whatever they tell you. They own you."

"Somehow this realization does not cross over to our thinking about the Christian life. Jesus didn't say that if you wanted to follow Him you could do it in a lukewarm manner. He said, "Take up your cross and follow Me." He also said:

"Suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up EVERYTHING HE HAS cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:31-33)

"Jesus asks for everything, but we try to give Him less. Jesus said, "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out." (Luke 14:34-35)

"Jesus isn't making a cute little analogy here. He is addressing those who aren't willing to give everything, who won't follow Him all the way. He is saying that lukewarm, halfhearted following is useless, that it sickens our souls. He is saying this kind of salt is not even fit for 'the manure pile'. "

"Wow. How would you like to hear the Son of God say, "You would ruin manure"?"

"When salt is salty, it helps manure become good fertilizer.....but lukewarm and uncommitted faith is completely useless."

"As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there is no such thing. To put it plainly, churchgoers who are "lukewarm" are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven."

--Excerpt taken from Francis Chan's "Crazy Love"--

Lukewarm Christianity has been the topic of our nightly family Bible studies for the last couple of weeks; we are having a tough time getting past it. The subject has caused us to pause and think about taking our lives more seriously: What does it look like to fight WORLDINESS when the lure of it is constantly surrounding us? How do we purposefully choose to make material things NOT matter?

Consider this: I could go into my closet and get rid of the majority of my clothing, only saving a few the rest to the poor. I could also sell my car and use only Chappy's car when he is not the car away to someone who needs it more. I could give up all food that is not necessary for my health: sweet tea, pies, and cakes......using money that typically goes toward those extravagances to help feed the hungry. I could even stop watching TV in order to spend more time serving others. You get the idea....the list could go on for awhile longer.

I could make a choice to do all of these things, and I am even stubborn (head-strong) enough to succeed. However, what good does a head decision or an "act" do if my heart has not changed? That is not what God is asking for when He is telling us not to be lukewarm; it is much deeper and much more difficult than "works".

The question our family continues to have is this: How do believers get to a point where Jesus' thoughts are our thoughts and His ways become our ways? In other words, How do we move past a "works" mentality and toward developing a "heart" that eagerly gives because if it doesn't, it will bust? How do we allow ourselves to be transformed into someone who gives all there is to give out of reckless abandon to the Savior?

Tonight, Chappy and I had each of the kids write down on a sheet of paper how the Father has been dealing with them lately during our Bible Study. We were blown away by their answers (one 15 year old boy and two 11 year old girls): The main theme each of them wrote about was pride and selfishness. All three of them, separately, wrote how they want to strive to put others' needs before their own desires and how they don't want to care about what others think.

God is continuing to work on the Hollis Gang!


  1. Melanie, I admire you greatly but I have begun to be a little concerned about the theme of your messages lately. They seem to be leaning heavily toward "works" as the way to Heaven. Yet I know you do not believe that. I was so caught up in legalism for years that I was relieved to get to the bottom portion of this post and see you start talking about the change in the heart and the relationship with God. "Works" do not provide a pathway to Heaven, but come about as a result of the changed heart which causes us to want to be more like Jesus. As we become more like Him then it is our desire to show the transformed life by serving Him through serving others. Our love and faith is manifest through our works but the "works" are not what gives us eternal life with God. If it were, then Jesus' sacrifice would not have been necessary.
    I question anyone who would say someone would not be seen in Heaven, for only God knows our hearts. Some of us are more fortunate than others and can give more of ourselves than others. But we can take hope in the story of the widow's mite. You have been very blessed with the financial resources and the good health to do what you are doing. God bless you for that, for you could have chosen to spend your good fortune solely on yourself. "To whom much is given, much is required." Some, however, have physical problems and/or family situations that are so demanding that taking in orphans would be an impossibility. But we can give a cup of water to the thirsty, a loaf of bread to the hungry, clothes to the naked, a kind word to the hurting, comfort for the sick, etc., etc. God gives to each of us different talents and abilities to use as He leads us. He only requires that we love Him with all our hearts, souls and minds, and love our neighbor as ourself. That is a big order in itself. I thank Him for His grace and mercy to accept me as I am, with all my short comings. I thank Him that the blood of Jesus covers them over. I would like more stars in my crown to throw at Jesus' feet, yet I can never compare to a Sister Teresa or a Billy Graham, but thank God I do not have to.
    God bless you for the work you are doing. You are an inspiration. May you continue to light sparks in the hearts of others to do what the Lord would lead them to do. The fields of harvest are white and the works of the enemy are vast. We are God's vessels on this earth to do His will.

  2. Melanie, This is totally where I am in my spiritual journey! I want that crazy love for God but I'm still fighting that need to follow Jesus through works that are not coming from my heart. I'm desperately longing to love Him so much that I want to give like He gives, just like you said here. My own lack of passion scares me, but I know there is so much more to following Jesus than just actions. thank you for sharing this. As the body of Christ, we need each other for support and encouragement to draw near to God, especially in this day of rampant materialism and human pride.