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  • Writer's pictureTrace Pirtle

Awakening Lukewarm Christians [2022]

Time may be running out for lukewarm Christians. It's time to awaken in 2022!

Let's face it, awakening to the reality that one is a lukewarm Christian is brutal. But it's not hard to see why so many have fallen into this worldly slumber. It's the easy way to live!

Yes, the world makes it easy for us to be lukewarm Christians. But, look at how the enemy uses simple psychology to rationalize our lukewarm attitude toward God.

The World's Rationalization of Lukewarm

The world loves speed, chaos, and confusion. The busier and more distracted it can keep you, the easier it is to rationalize why you can't become an all-in, on-fire believer.

Do you see any of these world rationalizations creeping into your own life? Unfortunately, I've seen many of them in mine over the years.

  • World Rationalization #1:I Don't Have Time for Church: The world says you have to make time for family, friends, kids; education and training; your job, gig, or profession; kids activities; your activities; exercise, relaxation, and "personal" time. By the time you meet all these time demands, you are tired and burned out. You only have time to rest and then start it all over again.

  • World Rationalization #2: I Don't Have Enough Money to Give (Tithes/Offerings): The world says money is tight, and you have to live on a strict budget; inflation is rising; good jobs are scarce; the economy is slowing; who has money to give to the church, the poor? Can you trust the church when so many pastors live the good life while you are in the food line?

  • World Rationalization #3: I Can't Find The Right Church: The world says you need to find a "progressive" church, one that looks more like the world than the Word; find a church that allows for a wide diversity of thought; denies the authority of scripture; accepts you "just as you are;" lukewarm is the new normal for Christians, says the world. And I still can't find the right church.

  • World Rationalization #4: God Doesn't Need My Service: The world says there isn't anything you need to do to be accepted by God; that your works are unnecessary; it's okay to sit on the sidelines and be a bench warmer for Christ; in fact, they already have more than enough "righteous" people; no need to worry about service to the church or others.

  • World Rationalization #5: Christianity is No Longer Relevant in Our Culture: The world says that "love is love"; "science is real"; God is in nature, not just the church; all beliefs can lead to heaven; sin was covered, so sinners (i.e., believers) no longer need to repent; Christianity is offensive, inherently racist, and out-of-date and time.

Given all these "legitimate" reasons, "the world" says you are justified in forgetting to pray or study the bible because there are not enough hours in the day. You can forget about God because you can't have a conversation with Him anyway! All are simple rationalizations for lukewarm Christians to remain lukewarm.

Finally, the world tells us that It's better to awaken to the world and remain a sleepwalker to the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the world's rationalization, and it is easy to buy into it. It's effortless to become a lukewarm Christian if we aren't awakened.

But God is clear about His position on us being lukewarm. To help us wake up, Jesus said,

"So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot or cold, I will spit you out of My mouth." - Revelation 3:16

Lukewarm or On Fire: A Free-Will Choice

So it seems to me that we have a free-will choice to make. We either warm up to God (and reap the benefits) or stay lukewarm (and reap the whirlwind). I don't know what "reap the whirlwind" or "spit you out of my mouth" means from God's perspective; however, there must be a reason that scripture says,

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer." Proverbs 9: 10-12

I've read about God's wrath (think flood, fire, and brimstones), and I don't want any part of that! I've discovered that God has a great sense of humor AFTER we show proper respect, not before. He doesn't need to justify or rationalize anything He does.

Why, then, are we--as mere mortals--asked to do the seemingly impossible given our real-world responsibilities? And on top of these responsibilities, some still say we must follow the 613 (+/-) commandments given to the Jews. Challenging to say the least!

Perhaps God is simply asking us to acknowledge that only Jesus was perfect--without sin. From the original Adam through the present day, only Jesus followed God's commandments without error. Therefore, he alone is worthy of our ON FIRE devotion.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16

We should also consider that Jesus offered Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our collective sin---yours and mine. Being both man and God, He could have said, "I've got a meeting on the beach in the Bahamas, so the cross will have to wait."

No, He alone was responsible for doing what we in the world are incapable of doing. He knew our salvation- yours and mine- was in His hands.

Given the ultimate sacrifice God made in offering His own Son and that Jesus was willing to pay the price, it's understandable and justified that Jesus would say,

"I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6.

But if we are still lukewarm (unconvinced), let's think about what else God said:

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father's glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done." Matthew 16: 24-27

Jesus is telling us--without exaggeration--it is NOT okay to stay lukewarm with one foot in the world and the other in heaven. Buying into the world's rationalizations and easy living lifestyle is a dead end.

It's Time to Wake Up Lukewarm Christians

It's time to wake up! The reality we awaken to will not seem easy (at first). Scripture is clear...

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate, and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matthew 7:13-14

But a strange thing happens when we make a free-will choice to go all-in for Christ. When we get off the bench, despite our schedules, and say, "Here I am, Lord, if You need me!"

What happens is that God is no longer holding the Big Stick ready and willing to strike you down. Instead, we find a compassionate Father who says,

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light." -- Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus understands that the "normal" demands of the world are enough to burn us out. He understands that global pandemics, civil unrest, economic meltdown, and natural and manufactured disasters will blow our human minds and incinerate our emotions. It's all part of The Plan.

So, are you weary and heavy-laden? Have you awakened to a harsh reality that you don't have all the answers to the world's problems, but Jesus does?

Have you listened to the rationalizations of the world to remain lukewarm to Jesus and discovered an equally lukewarm life? How has that been working for you?

Perhaps Life Can Be Different

  • Perhaps Jesus is humbly knocking on the door to your heart and asking you to awaken to a new reality. A new reality that puts God first rather than last on your "To Do" list.

  • Perhaps you'll discover that you have more time than you realized. As if, by a miracle, you even have time for prayer with your family. You find you have time for reading His Word daily. You find that you even have time to thank God for all His blessings at the end of the day.

  • Perhaps you'll find more money to share with others who are less fortunate. You may discover a strange feeling of joy whenever you give an offering, no matter how much or little it is.

  • Perhaps while feeling lost without a church home, God reminds you that you are never lost. He knows where you are. Go out into the world with Jesus in your heart, and His church will find you.

  • Perhaps Jesus will lovingly say, "I could use your help with My sheep. Will you write to them for Me?" Maybe He will offer you a particular assignment that only you can do. Whatever it is, you will be blessed beyond your wildest dreams for saying "Yes" to Jesus.

  • Perhaps you will discover that no matter how cool the water is on the beach of life, it is no match for being an On Fire Believer with Christ.

Concluding Thoughts

Awakening the Lukewarm Christian happens when we mentally dedicate ourselves to something transcendent to us--Jesus. It occurs when the rational mind is quiet with all of its ego defense mechanisms and cultural clutter. This allows the "still small voice" of the spirit to have an unencumbered word with us. The awakening warms the heart and transforms the mind from a battlefield to a calm pond.

The awakening process can only happen through faith. But, unfortunately, reason alone will leave us stymied and in an endless loop of "yes, buts..." that characterize the lukewarm Christian.

The world not only justifies but even celebrates our lukewarm relationship with God. The more we can be distracted from the truth of peace, the better for the world of chaos.

Only through Christ's death on the cross and resurrection are we offered grace and forgiveness of our sins. We only need faith that Jesus died for our sin(s) to receive the gift of salvation and eternal life. That He is our Lord and Savior alone.


About Me

Image of Dr. Trace Pirtle sitting on park bench identified as Jesus.

Greetings, I'm Trace!
I'm a retired counselor education professor who spent 35 years in the "helping professions." I'm a U.S. Air Force veteran who served as a Missile Launch Officer with I.C.B.M's during the Cold War (1980's). Today, I'm an "all-in" believer working full-time for our Lord Jesus Christ. I've included my personal testimony if you are interested. 
May God bless you beyond your wildest dreams!

In His Service,

Trace Pirtle

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