The Antidote for Lukewarm Faith
We are moving, and yesterday we shut the door for the last time on our old house. We left the keys on the counter, and I shut the garage door and darted underneath. When it hit the ground, it was the period after the last word in a chapter of our lives.
My truck was loaded like a Clampit vehicle. I had my son Liam with me and stuff packed all around him. We drove away as our friends waved and Liam cried little 6 year old tears. It was heavy.
Here's the deal. As Liam's Dad, I look out for him. I try to guide his life in such a way that he will flourish and grow and mature into a joyful oak of a man. I need God to guide me as I guide him, of course. But Liam doesn't see what I see. He is 6 and we just drove off from a happy home in a happy neighborhood full of his best friends.
As we drove off, the tears subsided. And Liam spoke up:
"I wish you hadn't talked us into moving."
I tried to validate his sadness without immediately giving an answer for the decision that my wife and I had made. He wasn't questioning me - he was just sad and he didn't understand. We sat in that statement for a while.
Then I asked him to trust me.
We have prayed through this move. We have thought about it. We have sought counsel. And this move, though bittersweet, is going to be wonderful for our family. Liam doesn't see that yet, but he will.
God in his sovereignty guides our lives. While many of us think God has given us carte blanche on earth to make decisions so he can judge us for them, I believe God is much more intentional than that. I don't think he's watching me with his arms crossed, I think he's holding my hand.
And sometimes that means he takes me places I don't want to go.
If you are a follower of Jesus and your life is safe and boring, you're not doing it right. You're probably missing his calls to dangerous adventure. A life with Jesus is not a padded room.
We all go through periods of lukewarmness. We believe with our minds but we hold back our hearts. You can do all the Christian behaviors and still be lukewarm, by the way. Lukewarmness is not a behavioral performance analysis, it's an EKG of the heart.
Do you want to kill your lukewarmness? Do you want to feel alive again and to follow Jesus wherever he may lead? I have the answer:
When Jesus called his disciples, he just told them to follow. Leave your jobs and family and clothes and everything. Just come on. You'll see. And they did. And it was worth it. But when Jesus beckons to us, too often we explain him away.
He didn't really say to go knock on their door.
If I quit my job my family will starve.
I can't pursue that - everyone will laugh at me.
There's no way I can have that conversation with her.
You have to have some requisite knowledge of Scripture to test what you believe to be the callings of Jesus. It is very wise to seek counsel before making a big decision. But at some point you have to believe in what you're being compelled to do.
What is the worst that could happen? Seriously, let's go worst case scenario. You could die? Well to live is Christ and to die is gain, so death isn't that scary. You know what's scary? To live a quiet life of desperation. That should freaking terrify you.
It won't always go well, by the way. It didn't go well for the guys who were closest to Jesus. They were beaten, jailed, mocked, crucified, and boiled alive in oil. But you know what's insane - it was worth it. As Stephen was stoned to death, he worshiped. He followed Jesus where Jesus prompted and ended up in what by all worldly accounts should have been hell - but it wasn't. The paths Jesus leads us down are not always ascents of riches and status, but they are always, without exception, paths that lead to more of him. And that is what our souls crave. Encounters with Jesus are the most satisfying experiences possible for humans.
To what is God calling you? Is something scary and wonderful gnawing at you? If you have prayed about it, sought good counsel, and searched Scripture - just go. Like Liam, you may not see the big picture but I can assure you that God does.