Today I am reminded of the tragic fate of the lukewarm. The Book of Revelation explains “… so because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” When God spits me out of His mouth, I will be lost, I will feel empty. Lukewarmness results in emptiness and loneliness because my soul by its very nature craves for my creator.
A lot of the saints talk about lukewarmness in different ways. Some talk about the dark nights of the soul, some speak about fading enthusiasm or spiritual dryness and diminishing vigor. They considered this point in their spiritual journey as a personal invitation by the Lord calling them to a closer, deeper, more personal relationship with Him. They warn about succumbing to shallow emotions, and emphasize on having the zeal for service be based on profound love.
St. Gregory the Great said, “He who does not advance, slides back.” St. Teresa of Avila said “The lukewarm do not embrace the cross; they merely drag it along.” From the saints I learned of the joy in being chosen to carry the cross; that when God allows me to, I must pick it up and embrace it. Any other way leads me to lukewarmness.
St. Paul explains that God does not ask for the sacrifice of things as much as the sacrifice of self. I must avoid the pitfall of still talking about God but no longer talking to Him. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than having so many words without a heart. I recognize that in this spiritual warfare there can be no imaginary truce, there can be no lull in the fight, there can be no standstill. The fight is always on. The battlefield is my heart. I must guard my heaven from the force determined to take it away from me. I must fight with a zeal that comes from a relationship with my Lord based on faith, nurtured in hope, and driven by love. When I do this I will serve out of love conscious of duty – prepared and willing for self-denial, always ablaze for God.
I understand now that God reveals the dangers of lukewarmness that I may pray for the outpouring of His grace and mercy in my life; so that I may desire more of Him and less of me. I must ask the Lord to give me the courage to speak and make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel; to not back down when I am ordered to stand firm; to not flee when I’m commanded to hold my ground; to not fall back when I’m called to advance. I must cry out to God like King David in his Psalm “Rise up, help us! Redeem us as your love demands.”
Almighty One, burn in me! Lead me to Calvary where you redeemed me.