"LUKEWARM PEOPLE probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren't very different from your typical unbeliever. They equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn't be more wrong." p. 79
I'll be honest and admit that I've been vacillating on how to tackle this characteristic. Drinking, I've come to find out, can be a rather sensitive subject for many Christians. For every person that is ardently against the consumption of alcohol, there seems to be another citing scripture as their defense. I'm not quite sure where I fall in this landscape yet. My husband and I aren't "regular" drinkers, by any stretch of the imagination; however, there's usually a bottle of wine somewhere in the kitchen, or an imported beer in the fridge. Interestingly enough, I will have to say that we've been addressing this issue lately, with regard to our children... specifically when, or if, we will drink in front of our children and, more importantly, what we will say to them when they ask what we are drinking... and if they can have some. (We're not the type of parents that respond to a child's inquisitive "why" with a snide: "Because I said so." We have found, as annoying as they can be, those "why" questions can really be thought provoking... but, of course, we'd never admit that to our children.)
But, I really think the focus here should be on the second part of the characteristic: "They equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn't be more wrong." If you think about it, this is pretty much a slap in the face to God... saying that His holiness is only capable of partially sanitizing the muck in our lives...whatever that muck may be. The holiness of God, His magnificent grace, is more than enough to sanitize our lives... the problem resides in us... specifically our free will.
In my opinion, the gift of free will is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it puts the choice to accept Christ into our hands... it is not forced upon us. A curse because it puts the choice to follow Christ in our own hands... it is not forced upon us. I once told someone that the choice of accepting Christ was easy... the hard part was following Him. Maybe that's just me... but I don't think so! God, quite frequently, brings to my attention those things that are inhibiting my growth as a Christian... that are enabling me from following Him. I could tell you how many times, out of my own free will, I have chosen to ignore Him... but that would be far too embarrassing.
Of all the things I've learned in my faith as a Christian, this has probably been the most important: My relationship with Christ is not a one way street. It is not just for Him to give and me to receive. We must also give freely of ourselves... not just those things we are ready to give. We must also give those things we attribute with a false sense of comfort... those things we convince ourselves (through a worldly perspective) that we deserve. We must not let this world dictate what makes us happy, what makes us fulfilled, or what we "rightly" deserve... for the people and things of this world hold nothing to God... nor can they even begin to understand the happiness, the fulfillment or the righteous gifts that He bestows on us. Those things are not of this world... and that is why they are exceedingly better.
As we wrap up the Lukewarm characteristics, I'd like for you to look at Chan's overview of Chapter 4 again. See if this brings a little more clarity...or conviction!