Whether you have heard of the term before or not, you might be wondering what a lukewarm Christian is.
The topic can be a hard one to understand and to work through and for many of us, it might mean coming to terms with behaviors that have become normal.
Many Christians find themselves asking whether they are a lukewarm Christian several times in their faith journey and this article tells you a little bit more about what it means and the potential signs that you might be one.
What is a Lukewarm Christian?
In a general sense, lukewarm means you are not hot, but you are not cold either. Yet when it comes to faith and Christianity, it can mean something entirely different.
The meaning of lukewarm in Christianity and in the Bible is someone who has not completely denied the Lord and Jesus, but is not living for Him either. This means they have a complacency of faith as they have faith in the name but not in action. Another word is blasé.
You can find what the Bible says about lukewarm in Revelation chapter 5:14-22 and to sum it up, it is a kind of faith that does not affect the way you live.
Although a Christian is a Christian because of their belief and their love for Jesus, as well as their devotion to the Will of God, affections shape our actions, and when you become a lukewarm Christian, we allow our love for God to slowly fade away and this becomes the greater concern.
You become a lukewarm or complacent Christian when your reverence to God starts to fade and both of these indicate your faith might be slipping.
Dangers of Lukewarm Christianity
As we mentioned previously in the article, you become a lukewarm Christian when you don’t feel you need Him, but still, tell others you are a follower of Jesus. Lukewarm Christians can still attend church and worship sessions, but they have become too familiar with their ways and often do not apply what they have learned to their life.
For example, if a lukewarm Christian attends a singing worship service but only engages in the music which fits their preference, it becomes almost like a concert, instead of a way of communicating with God.
Moreover, they might continue with their charity work, but only after figuring out if it will benefit them in the long run.
The difference here is that a Christian who has maintained their healthy relationship with God will do these things out of love and commitment for Him, whereas a lukewarm Christian will dismiss their need for God entirely.
This creates a distance between them and God and disconnects any relationship they once had with Him. Instead, they believe they are sufficient to live a life on their terms.
Being a distant Christian is dangerous as it teaches Christians that compromising our faith to stand on our own is ok, and nonchalant Christianity as a result encourages the body of Christ to stay neutral.
When this happens, we become ineffective in our faith and relinquish power to others who want to change standards of righteousness, to fit their agendas.
It, therefore, aids the agenda of the enemy and when God reaches to correct, lukewarm Christianity will reject this help as they believe they are sufficient in themselves.
In Revelations chapter 3, there is a sentence that described those who are so confident and content within themselves, that they don’t feel the need for God anymore. This means they remain neutral instead of standing for Him and instead of standing for righteousness, they compromise instead. The text reads:
“Because you say, I am rich, I have become wealthy, and have need of nothing – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked -” Revelation 3:17
A Letter to the Lukewarm Christian Church
In the same chapter as above, John is having a conversation with God and what is coming. God then gives him messages to give to seven different churches and one of the churches is the church of Laodiceans and this is described as the lukewarm church in Christianity.
This will give you a clearer understanding of the Christian definition of lukewarm Christianity and how God feels about it.
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.
I could wish you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot I will vomit you out of My mouth.”- Revelation 3:14
It is always better to be cold or hot than lukewarm.
A cold Christian, although not in faith, is fully aware of their choice to live for themselves and to join another belief system, whereas a Christian who is lukewarm, blasé, or complacent has either fallen so slowly they do not realize their complacency or they are a Christian who is trying to work out how to get the best of both worlds.
Either option includes a level of deception and this can be damaging to one’s faith.
Lukewarm Christianity causes the church to stop doing the will of the Lord and to start living independently. It teaches that we can do so without facing consequences and this is not only dangerous but perverts that grace of God and the heart of the gospel.
The 7 Surefire Signs You’re a Lukewarm Christian
- A Lukewarm Christian Does Not Follow God as a Christian Does- You might be content with your faith and content with your relationship with Jesus. You do not want to spend extra time in prayer with Him, or worshipping, reading the Bible, or serving alongside Him, however. This means you will only do the bare minimum as you think this might still be able to secure salvation. You might think following Jesus simply means being a good person and going to church services every so often, but it is more than this.
- A Lukewarm Christian Ignores Teaching and Conviction- You don’t allow others or the Holy Spirit, or the Bible to counsel you and guide you in your faith journey.
- A Lukewarm Christian will Welcome and Value the Teachings of Philosophers and Leaders Over the Teachings of God- You might allow philosophies and other ideologies to be the foundation of every decision and you might expect His grace to still support you, even when you oppose him.
- A Lukewarm Christian Remains Neutral- Rather than living apart, you would rather remain neutral in your faith and run from the responsibility of picking between righteousness and worldliness and will then fight to create a middle ground. You will remain neutral to try and live the best of both worlds.
- A Lukewarm Christian Will Advocate Preferences Using Voice- You will do this, even when such preferences cause you to oppose and go against the moral standards of God.
- A Lukewarm Christian’s Confidence is with Possessions, Outside Connections and Influences-This means your confidence is not in the Lord.
- A Lukewarm Christian Thinks God will Conform to the People- Instead of encouraging people to conform to the will of God, you believe God will conform to the people. However, as God highlights, a lukewarm Christian allows society to alter, change, and redefine. This goes as far as the definition of marriage, social justice, gender identity, and reformation.
Other Signs You May Be A Lukewarm Christian
Though we have gone through the 7 surefire signs, below are a few you should still watch out for, and might suggest you are a lukewarm Christian.
You Are Afraid to Preach the Gospel
“God did not give us the spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline”. Timothy 1:7
God empowers believers to accomplish their calling. There is no excuse to not be able to preach the Gospel. God commands His people to preach the Good News and bring people to Jesus.
A lukewarm Christian does not generally understand this and sits on the sidelines instead. They do not often share about Jesus with the people they surround themselves with.
You Love with Conditions
A Lukewarm Christian will only love under certain conditions. Jesus taught us however to love our neighbors and be good, even to our enemies.
If you are only kind to people who are good to you, this could be a sign you are a blasé Christian. This also applies if you repay evil with evil and retaliate when you suffer injustice. It’s important to remember that vengeance belongs to the Lord and not to the people.
You Rarely Give to the Less Fortunate
If you rarely give to the poor or the less fortunate and when you do, you think it is a loss, this could be a sign you are a lukewarm Christian. You will end up giving reluctantly and not willingly if this is the case as you do not want to sacrifice anything for the oppressed, or for the section of society you think does not deserve your help.
You Feel Compassion for the Lost but You Lack Action
Lukewarm Christians might feel compassion for the lost but lack action as you lack the initiative to actively help them.
You Fear the Penalty of Sin More than God
A lukewarm Christian will fear the penalty of sin more than God himself. You do not want to change the way you live your life but you will fear the consequences of your sins. This is usually because you are scared of the outcome, however, and not because of how you feel towards displeasing God.
Can Lukewarm Christians be Saved?
Whether or not blasé, bored, or tepid Christians can be saved or can receive salvation has sparked several different opinions. This next section uses the Bible to see what God says about this. Although God tried to make salvation available to everyone, the following scripture highlights the people who may not receive it.
In Matthew Chapter 7, Jesus talks to his disciples about Heaven and says:
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
Jesus shortly after says:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
A lukewarm church is believed to be polluted and will lead Christians away from God and pull them apart from their relationship with Jesus. If a relationship with Jesus and a commitment to walking with God are essential for salvation, the lukewarm church is therefore problematic.
God intended to warn the church of Laodicea that complacency and compromise might be more dangerous than they first imagined.
In the next section of Revelation Chapter 3, He offers hope to the people. He says:
“I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your wickedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eyesalve, that you may see. As many as I love I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” Revelation 3:18-19
Though God will not accept a lukewarm church, he will therefore embrace a repentant church instead.
How to Avoid Becoming a Lukewarm Christian?
Spiritual lukewarmness is challenging to overcome as you have to give up things that have become normal to you. We have gone through 7 different steps of how to overcome lukewarm Christianity.
1. Acknowledge That You Need Jesus
Christians believe that we all need Jesus in our lives. You can not be saved for eternity without Him and in Romans 3:23, Paul tells us
“For all Have Sinned and Fallen Short of the Glory of God.”
In Romans 6:23, Paul states,
“For the Wages of Sin is Death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This means salvation for eternity can be found only when you have Jesus in your life. We can not be sufficient on our own and this is why lukewarm Christianity is so dangerous.
To overcome lukewarm Christianity you need to confess your need to Jesus and rebuild a solid relationship with him.
“If you confess with your mouth that the Lord Jesus and believe in your hearts the God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
2. Delight in Biblical Teachings
Some voices in our head can be intentionally deceptive, and despite them having the best intentions, they might be entirely misleading or even ignorant. On the other hand, you then have the voices of the Bible and the counsel of the Lord. You need to find joy in obtaining wisdom that comes from these voices and from God.
In Psalm 1:1-3, David says,
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful, But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law, he meditates day and night.”
You need to find joy again in the Bible and spend time with God, listening to what he has to say.
3. Value the Wisdom and Counsel of the Lord
We live in a society that teaches us to look for wisdom in other people. However, people often fail this mission and therefore, our wisdom fails. This is why it is so important to value God’s wisdom, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit. Wisdom begins and ends with the Lord and in Proverbs 1:7, we are told,
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…”
If you are a lukewarm Christian, you might lean on unstable guidance philosophers, world figures, and thought leaders. However, if you are confident in your faith and are a practicing Christian, you will lean on God’s wisdom instead and this requires you to go against the grain.
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly.”: Proverbs 2:6-7
4. Choose to Protect and Honor Your Relationship with Jesus
This step involves you becoming a friend of God according to James and a co-laborer according to the Corinthians. These are parts of our identity in Christ you should not give up so easily.
To build this friendship with the Lord, you need to learn to listen to His voice and consider his Heart as well as acknowledge His ways. We do this through the Bible and prayer.
5. Choose Him Always
To escape lukewarm Christianity you need to make sure you are choosing Him over and over again. Your choices reflect who you are and what you love.
You need to love Jesus more than anything and be passionate about what He is passionate about. You should always love what He loves and the same with hate. You need to advocate for what he stands for in your everyday life.
6. Treasure the Giver over the Gift
We are whole when walking with Jesus and so you need to always be thankful for what God has provided to us and has allowed us to enjoy. You need to keep your confidence in the Lord.
Even when you feel like you have nothing, you will always have Him. However, genuine Christians will still value God when they have nothing.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
7. Model Righteousness and Love. Encourage Both.
The world will always be able to lead us astray. In Romans 12:2, Pauls says
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
You should not allow the world to redefine what God has set in stone. You need to love God and stand by Him, whilst also loving people enough to encourage them in truth.
We hope by reading this article, you now understand what lukewarm Christianity is and the 7 surefire signs you might be one.
Fortunately, if you have fallen into lukewarm Christianity, you have not completely lost your faith and you can still be loved by God.
God will always be eager to welcome any repentant Christians back into His arms, especially if you follow our 7 tips of how to redeem yourself in faith.
With one simple prayer, you can become closer to God and ignite that relationship with Jesus once more.