Every Thought Captive

Lukewarmness in the Pursuit of Comfort

And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: "The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also conquered and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'"

Revelation 3:14-22

As we continue digesting the Scripture from Revelation 3 and the letter to Laodicea, I was reminded of the power of God’s Word and what it was meant to do in our lives. Hebrews 4:12 came to mind, “For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” This is a comforting thought. It is only God’s Word that has the power to both cut us open and put us back together. A human’s words may sting, may harm, and may wound. God’s words are a loving beckoning to something better, a kind invitation to His plans for us, and a reproof as He continues His work of sanctification in our lives.

One way lukewarmness manifests itself in our lives is in our pursuit of lives of comfort. The thing about comfort is that in one sense God has made us to feel safe and secure. As image bearers, we were wired to be comforted by God. He created us with that need and for that need to be met in Him. We get into trouble when we search for comfort in things that are not of the Lord. We make an idol of comfort when we start to shape our lives around avoiding pain and challenging things, and we allow something much less than God to provide a safe and secure place for us, instead of God himself.

As God calls us to be aware of lukewarmness, it is all too easy to do so in a way in which we are relying on ourselves. It’s all too easy to respond in a moralistic way. This looks like telling yourself to “stop it,” to be a better person, or to do more for God. This is relying on our own works and missing God. When our moralism ultimately fails, we run back to the money, the unhealthy relationships, or the job that we think keeps us safe, instead of running into the arms of the only One who can keep us safe. No, we don’t loosen the grip of comfort by telling ourselves to stop it. Our first step is acknowledging that we can’t fulfill the need of our heart’s longing, but that God provided His Son to meet that need.

Christ lost His safety of being with God the Father so that we may be brought back to the safety of a relationship with God. Christ left the security of being at the Father’s side to bring us securely into His presence by the sacrifice of His blood.

For those who know the security of being God’s beloved, to hear of lukewarmness should cause us to pause, reflect, and ask hard questions of ourselves. But it ultimately doesn’t shake us. Our comfort comes from being in Christ, and the Holy Spirit continues to convince us of our identity as His sons and daughters. We relish in His love for us, as He disciplines us toward His eternal purposes for us. In that we can rejoice.

About the Author

Photograph of Sam Leopold

Sam Leopold

Assistant Pastor of Missions

Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Sam is the Assistant Pastor of Missions at Park Cities Presbyterian Church. He previously served as an overseas missionary in Rome, Italy, with Agape Italia and helped launch student movements across the country. He completed his theological education at Reformed Theological Seminary in New York City and pastoral ministry training at Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s City to City training program. Sam and his wife Kimberly have three daughters: Eloise, Evelyn, and Emory.