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Test Yourself: Are You Lukewarm?

By Josh Etter | Nov 28, 2011 12:00 pm

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Pastor John:

The essence of lukewarmness is the statement, “I need nothing.” The lukewarm are spiritually self-satisfied. To find out whether you are among that number, don’t look into your head to see if you think that you are needy; rather, look at your prayer life. It doesn’t matter what we think in our head, the test of whether we are in bondage to spiritual self-satisfaction is how earnest and frequent and extended our prayers for change are.

Do you seek the Lord earnestly and often in secret for deeper knowledge of Christ, for greater earnestness in prayer, for more boldness in witness, for sweeter joy in the Holy Spirit, for deeper sorrow for sin, for warmer compassion for the lost, for more divine power to love? Or is the coolness and perfunctoriness of your prayer life Exhibit A that you are spiritually self-satisfied and lukewarm?

Excerpted from How to Buy Gold When You’re Broke

” …I restore the fortunes of my people.”
(Hosea 6:11 ESV)

Lord Jesus,

We love you and praise you! As we gather on this Lord’s Day to proclaim your Greatness and Power, we pray that that you will send revival to us!

In Jesus Precious Name! Amen

Dr A. T. Pierson said,

“There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.”

The devil’s playbook

We are not ignorant of his designs.  2 Corinthians 2:11

The Bible reveals to us the devil’s playbook.  How does he aim to defeat us?  To begin with, in these four ways:

One, a judgmental attitude.  In this passage in 2 Corinthians, the devil designs to make a church into a harsh environment, where people are “overwhelmed by excessive sorrow” (verse 7).  Such a church stops feeling like Jesus.  It starts feeling like a scene out of Kafka.  How to defeat this satanic design?  Repent of self-righteous judgments, and eagerly communicate Jesus’ forgiveness, inclusion, honor.

Two, normal human instincts.  In Matthew 16:21-23, Jesus rebukes Peter, through whom Satan is speaking.  How did Peter open up to, of all things, satanic influence?  Not by consciously opening up to satanic influence.  All he did was think in normal human ways (“setting your mind on the things of man”).  All he did was set his heart on survival, making the way of the cross unthinkable.  Another of the devil’s designs.  How to defeat him?  Die to selfish survival.

Three, a spirit of accusation.  In Revelation 12:10 the devil is exposed as “the accuser.”  Another of his designs is to pierce our hearts with accusing thoughts about our sins – or even sins we haven’t necessarily committed, but we fear we have, or others say we have.  He spreads a mist of vague anxiety within ourselves and dark suspicion of others.  How to defeat this defeat?  Run to the cross for all our sins, and refuse to counter-accuse against our accusers.  A calm explanation might help at the interpersonal level.  But if the negative emotions are really intense, the only thing to do is not make the feeding-frenzy worse.  Wait on God to vindicate you.

Four, lying in order to win.  In John 8:44 Jesus calls Satan “the father of lies.”  It is his nature to lie, to deceive, to distort and twist and confuse.  He spreads his trademark behavior to others, especially in scenes of ungodly conflict.  He uses half-truths, self-serving accounts, spin.  How to defeat him?  Admit the plain truth, all of it, however embarrassing it might be.  We won’t die.  We will find it to be freeing.  Our safety and joy are always found in honesty before God and one another.

We have an enemy, and we know his strategies.  As C. S. Lewis taught us in The Screwtape Letters, we should neither ignore him nor obsess about him.  But fixing our eyes on Jesus, we can crush Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20) by humbly staying in, or humbly returning to, the ways of the gospel.

Happy Thanksgiving!

“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

You know the value of prayer: it is precious beyond all price. Never, never neglect it.

~Sir Thomas Buxton

If you want to see how popular the church is, attend Sunday morning worship. If you want to see how popular the pastor is, attend Sunday evening. if you want to see how popular God is, attend the prayer meeting.

~Armin Gesswein

Evelyn Christenson writes…

One day my husband walked out of the sanctuary of our church and encountered our custodian fairly dripping with perspiration. He was a giant of a Christian, but was gradually losing his ability to think and work effectively because of hardening of the arteries. As my husband saw him struggling with the vacuum cleaner he looked down and there lying on the ground was the plug. The dear man had vacuumed the whole auditorium and didn’t have the plug in the outlet!

Isn’t that what happens to many of us? We work, we pull, we struggle, and we plan until we’re utterly exhausted, but we have forgotten to plug into the source of power. And that source of power is prayer–the “effecting fervent prayer” of a righteous person that avails much.

For you to pray:

Dear God, teach me to plug into Your power. Amen

(Evelyn Christenson, What Happens When Women Prayer, 23-24).

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