Warm is a favorable temperature for the human body – a place where we find great comfort. While taking a bath tonight, I turned the hot water on and lost train of thought until I realized I’d left it running too long. At the realization that I was too hot, I first reached for a bottled water. Then I turned cold water on and splashed it over my face. The scripture came to me, “I’d rather that you be hot or cold but since you are warm I’ll spew you out of my mouth.” These are the words Jesus spoke to the 7th church, documented by John in the book of Revelation.
Warm means comfortable. It’s a place of needing nothing and feeling secure exactly where we are at. If we’re cold, we have a feeling of hollowness, incompleteness – we seek a fire to warm our feeble hands. If we’re hot, we yearn for the living water that will quench our thirst. Unpacking from my memory the other parts of the message Jesus spoke to this church, he said basically that this church didn’t realize their own needs. They thought they were rich, when they are poor. They thought they were clothed, when they were naked.
Recently, when I was interviewed on a Christian Television show, I was asked the question, why were you so focused on Josh living? What came to my mind had little to do with the subject of Josh at all, but it was an understanding inside of me that revealed the path to truly finding Jesus – it starts with a need. I needed the help of God at a time when my comfort zone was completely destroyed and I had no hope. I truly reached for Him with all my heart, when I desperately needed something from him. I thought about all of the empty prayers I’d made with wavering faith (that disappeared like a wave back into the sea), with no power, no sincerity and no faith within my words. And I wondered why the Lord allowed things to spiral so far out of control – to get worse and worse with each moment that passed. I remember wondering, “Where are you God? Aren’t you going to help us?” Much like the words that the disciples spoke to Jesus as the storm was about to capsize their boat – and he answered, “Why are you fearful? Oh you of little faith.” Were they really in a storm? Yes. They were in trouble and in that place of great discomfort they were fearful. But Jesus was WITH THEM. Like in my own storm, I was fearful and crying out to God. He didn’t rush in and fix it for me right away, but He never left me and all along he had planned to use that storm to build my faith in him.
If Jesus we’re walking this Earth today, who would leave all of their responsibilities and busy lifestyles to go follow him around? Is it by coincidence that those who went to such severe extremes to be in his presence, (like the group that tore a hole through the ceiling of a building and lowered the sick man through the hole), were the ones who knew they desperately needed his help?
I can’t remember ever attending a teaching in a church about the book of Revelation. And in the times I’ve read through it myself, I felt almost as if I had to separate that book from the rest of the new testament in order to feel good about God’s plans for me – like that book couldn’t be written for me if God is for me. Yet in this season that book speaks to my own life in ways that now make the word of God come to life with other scriptures that never before made much sense. Like “count it all joy when you go through tribulations and trials.” Tribulation doesn’t sound like joy and the pain this world is enduring today breaks my heart. It hurts me to see people struggling with disease, children dying at young ages, murder, death, destruction, poverty, disabilities and so many happenings that don’t seem good at all. But when I talk with some of these families who have endured great trials, I see the fire – they are HOT. They know they need a savior and they don’t hesitate to speak the name Jesus – the name they cling to when their hearts are broken and hope seems lost.
Why does Jesus open the seals? Why does he spit the warm out of his mouth? Why did he give them an answer “I counsel you to buy gold of me TRIED BY THE FIRE”?
As I ponder these things, I pray that we can give all the little stuff to him, and therefore not be tried in the big stuff. I pray that I am never again full of the “Pride of life” (ring of fire ministries), and that my heart remains hot, never thinking I’ve got this stuff all figured out on my own… never thinking I’m doing fine on my own.. but instead that my yearning for my Savior will remain as intense each day forward, as it was when I was broken into a thousand pieces in the fetal position on the cold floor of ICU room #79, crying out, “Father Please Let Him Live.”
Thank you Lord for never forsaking us and for loving us enough to weep with us through our heartache and our hurt. I know that you don’t enjoy watching us endure great pain, but I know that you will be faithful to do whatever it takes to keep our hearts on fire for you – to keep our lamps full and to let nothing pluck us out of your hand. I am uncomfortable and I don’t like it, but GOD, that warm, fuzzy comfort would have killed me. Thank you for showing me what it means to buy Gold of you, tried by the fire and Jesus, let me never fall away from this place where I have been humbled to, the place where I found you and yearn for your salvation. Father let me never again become warm. <3