As you start off in this devotional, I want to ask you to crack open your Bible and turn to the back. We're going to be studying a section in Revelation that has touched me deeply and spoke to me recently. That passage is Revelation 3:14-22. Go ahead and read it and I’ll be here, ready for you when you’re done.
After reading this passage, the one word that really stuck out in my mind was, OUCH. God speaks pretty harshly to the Church of Laodicea here - to the point where He even mentions how He will spit them out of His mouth. Now, I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t necessarily sound like something I’d want to be a part of. And the ultimate reason for God speaking so harshly to the church here is due to them being ‘lukewarm’. I think this status of being lukewarm is one of the biggest threats to the modern church, Christians, and ultimately the spread of the Gospel.
Jesus tells the church of Laodicea that they are ‘neither hot nor cold’ and that He simply wishes that they would just choose to be one or the other! By that statement, I feel like it goes without saying that being lukewarm isn’t acceptable in the eyes of God.
I picture the church of Laodicea as a church full of people who show up every single weekend. They show up and worship hard and stay focused on the sermon, but as soon as the service ends, they go about their lives in such a way that indicates no real, transformative relationship with Jesus. I envision that they hold tightly to their money, not truly trusting that God will meet all their needs. I envision that they aren’t spending time together outside of the church building, discussing what Jesus is doing in their community and how they can make a Kingdom footprint in their cities. Or maybe they’re coming to church every Sunday, but continuing to watch pornography, engage in gossip, or pursue drunkenness on the weekends.
Whatever it may be, living in such a way where the word Christian is merely a title, and not a lifestyle is displeasing to God. So ultimately, from this passage of Scripture, the question that has been on my mind is this – How do we, the modern church, avoid falling into the same trap as the Church of Laodicea?
I think at least a portion of the solution lies in us having a proper view and a proper grasp on what church was initially, and still is, designed to be. I feel like this is a topic that is touched on a lot, but it still remains so easy for church to be a big box that we check every week as if God will be pleased with us for merely checking the box. But in reality, that isn’t how it is at all in God’s beautiful design - church is intended to be so much more.
My fear is that church would become a place where we gather to solely become reverent of God - to be respectful and dutiful. And what I mean by that is the church isn’t merely a place where we go to become reverent of God, but rather a place where we bring our reverence of God. Because after all, our reverence, our worship before God is not just a feeling that consumes us for an hour a week, but rather a position of our heart that spills over into every hour of our lives.
So how do we get there? Here are some things God has laid on my heart, through people a lot wiser than myself:
1. Commit to doing church outside of church. Commit to gathering regularly and meditating on the truth of God’s word. Remind yourself that God is kind, compassionate, and loving. In the midst of our rebellion and brokenness He has come and continues to see us with favor.
2. Faithfully step into transparency with those close to you. Know that God’s grace has covered you and there is now no condemnation for sin - for you who are in Christ!
3. Set the pace and continue to expand your circle. Be the example and the testimony to others that freedom and mercy is found on the other side of confession (Proverbs 28:13), and that God’s grace is deeper than you could ever imagine.
Todd Wagner, pastor of Watermark Community Church, puts it this way:
“If we come to a reverent room where we arrive on time and hush our kids but walk out of that reverent room and live irreverent lives, what we did in that room is a mockery, and God disdains it.”
Brothers and sisters, church is a place for us to go and be reminded of the goodness and the favor and the hope of God, and by that reminder, we would desire others to experience what we have so graciously experienced. Jesus spent every day of his ministry intentionally speaking and showing people the goodness of God. Let’s be more like Jesus, not just having reverent days, but rather living reverent lives.
Noah Rivera // Humbled Daily Co-founder, Wyoming native and petroleum engineer.