"LUKEWARM PEOPLE do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don't have to trust God if something unexpected happened- they have their savings account. They didn't need God to help them- they have their retirement plan in place. They don't genuinely seek out what life God would have them live- they have life figured and mapped out. They don't depend on God on a daily basis- their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn't look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God." p. 78
Do you know what I hate most about this characteristic? The last sentence: "The truth is, their lives wouldn't look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God." Think about that. Now look at your life. When I started the Bible study at my church this summer, I opened the first lesson with a very specific scripture that addresses this exact issue.
"You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:20-24.
Through our acceptance of Christ and our faith in Him, there is to be a marked difference in our minds and our actions. We are no longer the same people. Put another way, their should be a tangible, noticeable difference that people sense when they are around us... they should sense Christ working in us... alive and well. But, I think what sometimes happens, is that we get caught up in the hope of a changed life. We think, "Great, I'm going to be dunked in water and come up a changed person." And maybe you are... if so, consider yourself lucky. For most of us, there wasn't this instantaneous night-to-day transformation. Truth be told, being baptized is where the journey begins in this life, not where it ends. There' s a lot of hard work that comes after this monumental occasion... but, ironically, I've never heard one pastor mention this after baptizing someone: "Welcome to our family in Christ. The journey can be long and painful, but now you have received the Holy Spirit. With Him, you can conquer all obstacles... and you will have many. Good luck. We're here for you!" That probably wouldn't go over too well, would it? It kinda takes the wind out of your sails, so to speak. But, isn't it the truth?
My point here, and I know I'm straying a little off the subject, is that so many of us, especially in this society, associate out faith in Christ with baptism, church attendance and the occasional bean supper. There really is no tangible difference in how we think or how we act. But there should be, if only for this simple reason: Before we accepted Christ as our Savior, our priorities were different. When we accept Christ, He becomes our number one priority. Our life changes, or, at least, it should, to the point where He becomes the center, the focus. SO IT ONLY MAKES SENSE THAT OUR LIVES WOULD COMPLETELY CHANGE! We no longer hold ourselves as the priority, or Sports Center, nights out with the girls, our homes, our clothes, our cars. When Christ is the Center, everything else falls in line... and believe it or not... a lot of things just fall away. We don't consider them important anymore... because we've changed! That's the power of Christ.
So, has your life been profoundly changed like this? I can honestly say that I'm knee deep in the middle of it, right now. It's extremely hard, incredibly painful at times... but, without a doubt, undeniably worth it. Putting Christ at the center of your life and saying that He's there are two completely different things. When you just simply SAY He's there, your life might not look so different. When He IS there, right smack dab in the middle of everything, I guarantee that your life will be different, There's really no other options. His presence is profound and it changes who you are.
Take a really honest, hard look at your walk with Christ. Is He at the center of your life? If you stopped believing in Him today, would your life look any different? This is a really powerful question. Spend some time thinking and praying about this. Be open to what God reveals to you.