There’s something equally terrible to the actual purging during the flu that is often overlooked and lasts a lot longer than 24 hours: After getting this nasty bug a few weeks ago, I still can’t even think about a turkey sandwich. Why? Because it was the last thing I ate before losing it in the bowels of my porcelain’s plumbing. I have a feeling Jesus was sick like this at some point during his 33 pre-resurrected years on earth. Right? I think that’s why He mentioned it years later to John.
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:16).
That’s it. It’s quite possible your Savior thinks you’re like vomit. He doesn’t just think it, He sees your insides and knows you’re potential vomit. There’s a chance that when you die, you’re going to hear Him say, “I never knew you.”
“You brag, ‘I’m rich. I’ve got it made. I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless" (Rev. 3:17).
So let’s do it. Get down to the nitty gritty. Are you hot? How do you know? What’s your life like? Where do you spend your time, money and energy? Are you cold? Why? Do you believe in God?
If Jesus is who He says He is, it only makes sense to follow Him with everything in you. If He’s not, why maintain a lukewarm life with an empty religion? Don’t you realize a life on the fence means you’re homeless? You haven’t chosen a side.
“Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock … Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen …” (Rev. 3:22)
“Listen.” This isn’t a tirade on striving and working to inherit salvation. This is a wake-up call, a splash of water on your tired face. If you’re hot, great, read something else. If you’re cold, don’t worry—you’re the one sheep Jesus is leaving the 99 for and you can read something else as well. But if you’re lukewarm, if you’re on the fence, then you’re vomit in Jesus’ mouth. He’d rather spit you out than work with you or attempt to coerce you over the fence to the hot side.
Does this mean you’re unloved? Of course not. Nothing can separate any one of us from His love. It means we have a responsibility. Think about Noah—the man saved us. Genesis 6:6-9 continues to throw my entire theology overboard: “And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth … but Noah was different. Noah was a good man. Noah walked [in habitual fellowship] with God.” Noah needed God. God used Noah and gave him favor. I don’t know about you, but I think this is intense! God felt regret? Doesn’t He know everything?
If you think about it, it was Lucifer’s pride of self-sufficiency that got him the boot from heaven. He didn’t need God because he was “better than God.” Thomas Merton said, “Pride makes us artificial.” This is exactly what Satan is—an artificial god, a fake. Is this the model we’re following by mistake? Are you on the fence because you don’t really need God? Or do you strive for just enough of God to feel saved and still comfortable in the world? Are you a phony, giving the rest of us a bad name? As Merton concluded, it’s humility that makes us real.
If you can lay down your own doubts about God—your own fears about the hot side, your own disappointment on the cold side—and think about others for a while, I can guarantee you’ll stop bragging about yourself and your heart will instinctively choose a side for you. Lucifer was barfed out of heaven and now accuses the brethren he wishes to devour. Jesus, however, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking on the very nature of a servant.
We were made to worship God and serve others. If you consider another before yourself, it’s amazing how easy it becomes to stop worshiping yourself.