From: How to Live a Holy Life
A lukewarm life is a displeasure to God; he would have us to be fervent in
spirit. God is pleased with us when we are lively stones, but not when we
are formal and lukewarm. A lukewarm state is a dangerous state. One very
dangerous thing about it is that usually when a person is lukewarm he is
unaware that he is lukewarm. If a man is sick and does not know that he is
sick, he is in great danger of his life, because he is not at all likely
to take the proper care of himself. So the man who is cold and formal but
thinks he is spiritual and full of love is not at all likely to do
anything for the improvement of his spiritual condition. He is very much
like the Irishman's turtle. I hesitate to relate anything so amusing, but
it so well illustrates the state of the lukewarm professor that I think I
Some Irishmen had caught a large turtle and cut off his head. Then they
waited for him to die, but the turtle scrambled about for some hours.
Desiring an explanation of such a phenomenon, they accosted an Irishman
who was passing by. After watching the turtle for a moment, he remarked,
"He is dead, but he doesn't know it." This is the condition of the
lukewarm professors. They are spiritually dead, but are not aware of it.
The professors of Christianity at Laodicea were lukewarm, but they thought
themselves rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing.
Diseases of the human body are attended with certain feelings and symptoms
by which the physician can tell the nature of the affection in a
particular case. The diseases of the human soul are also attended with
certain symptoms by which the nature of the malady in a given case may be
known. I will now tell you of a few of the symptoms of lukewarmness, so
you may know whether such is your state.
First. A kind of doubtful or uncertain feeling as to whether you are right
with God, together with an unwillingness to examine yourself closely for
fear you are wanting. Being filled with the Spirit gives us fulness of
Second. If when you testify to being saved, sanctified, and ready for the
coming of Jesus, your heart fails to say amen and you wish down in your
soul you had a little better assurance that what your lips say were true,
you are not as spiritual as you should be. When we are filled with the
Spirit, our souls are assured and satisfied.
Third. Going along day after day in the same routine of life, taking it
for granted that you are at the work the Lord wants you to do, and not
earnestly seeking to know
his will. Those who are spiritual can not
be contented without a definite knowledge of the will of God. If you are
going along without any real and positive knowledge of the will of God and
are not seeking to know it, surely you are lukewarm.
Fourth. If when your routine of life is in some way interrupted, you are
dissatisfied and complain; if you do not enjoy being moved out of your old
channel, but you wish to be let alone, it is evident that you have chosen
your own way and that God is not ordering your steps.
Fifth. If when you are called to the assistance of a neighbor or the sick
or even an enemy, you find a reluctancy to go and an often returning of
your own mind to your own concerns and a desire to hurry back to them, you
are, it appears, looking upon your own things, and not on the things of
others. The Bible tells us to look upon the things of others. If you see
your own needs, and see and care but little about the things of others,
you are selfish. Those who are spiritual have time to help others and do
Sixth. If when called upon to go to the assistance of some unfortunate one
and you can not possibly go, if you do not have a deep heart-regret and if
you do not ofttimes during the day think of the poor unfortunate man and
be pained at heart because of your inability to help him, you must be more
concerned about yourself than about others. You look on your own things
and do not see nor feel the needs of others. If such is true in you, you
are in a lukewarm state.
Seventh. If you were to be asked whether you are doing the work you are
now doing, solely and purposely for the glory of God, and you should be
obliged to answer that you had taken no particular thought about it, but
supposed it mattered little to the Lord, just so you were doing something,
this would surely show neglect, indifference, lukewarmness.
Eighth. If you are indifferent and unconcerned about making spiritual
progress; if you are not desiring and earnestly seeking for more of God;
if you are not earnestly striving to be more meek and humble, to be more
kind and patient; if you are carelessly tolerating acts of selfishness, of
impatience, unkindness, harshness, and lightness, you are certainly
Ninth. Neglect to read the Bible and to pray in secret; greater fervency
in public prayer than in secret prayer; more outward manifestation than
real inward piety; testifying or preaching beyond the true standard of
living--these too are evidences of lukewarmness. A man may become
enthusiastic in prayer, testimony, or sermon, and think he is making great
advancement; but if he does not live up to every word he speaks, he is
losing instead of gaining, because he is not walking in light.
Lukewarmness is very loathsome to God. It reproaches him. To make no
profession of love to God at all is not such a reproach to him as to
profess love and be lukewarm. God wants all your heart. If he can not have
it all, he will have none. He desires warm, fervent love. To love him only
partially, and not supremely, makes it appear as if he were worthy of only
half-hearted love. It makes other things equal with God.
After the physician learns the symptoms and pronounces the disease, he
then prescribes the remedy. Thank God, there is an unfailing remedy for
lukewarmness. Of course, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of
cure." "Repent and do the first works." Come to God and buy of him gold
tried in the fire. Exercise yourself in spiritual things if there yet be
any love in your heart. Shake off everything that is stupefying. Press
your way through to God in spite of dryness and deadness. Stir up your
soul. Give yourself to deep meditation upon the great love of God to you.
Pray in fervency and faith. Consecrate to the whole will of God. If your
case is not hopeless--and it is not--this will effect a cure.
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