When I had finished my basic training in the US ARMY I was sent to another area on the same Army base for Advanced Individual Training (AIT). I was assigned a sleeping bunk on the bottom (bunkbeds) in a long barracks.
One night shortly after arriving there I was found by my new Army buddies sleepwalking in the barracks isle yelling, “Where am I? What am I doing here?”
The next day I was asked if I remembered that, which of course I didn’t, so I went to see the doctor. He suggested that I tie a string around my ankle and then tie it to the bed post. Haaa, I never did that, but I never went walking in my sleep again either (not that I know of anyway - I did ask my buddies in the barracks).
Some Christians act like they are sleepwalking. They aren’t on fire for Jesus, but are just sitting in the pews pretending to listen. They are neither awake nor asleep, neither hot nor cold for God’s cause, but lukewarm. The Bible tells us that if we are neither hot nor cold that God will remove us from Himself. We will be removed from His body.
“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
Have you ever thought about what the word “spue” means? “Spue” is the Old English spelling of the word “spew”. I had wondered about it quite a bit, and even though I love reading from the NLT I wasn’t convinced that the translation of that same word was accurate. It is translated as “spit”, but that just didn’t seem right. Then God gave me an illustration that I will never forget.
I had been working outside for quite a long time on a very cold day and desperately needed something warm inside me. I was “chilled to the bone”. I went and purchased a cup of hot chocolate, but when I tried to drink it I found that it was way too hot, so I went to the ice machine and added ice to cool it down.
Evidently I had gotten too much ice because then when I tried to drink some, the temperature of the liquid was EXACTLY the same temperature as my body, and the hot chocolate went directly into my lungs without me even being aware of it. My lungs certainly knew that hot chocolate didn’t belong in there though, and I involuntarily spewed out of my mouth whatever had gone into my lungs.
What came out of my mouth wasn’t large droplets but a very fine mist. It was NOT a conscious effort on my part to spit out what wasn’t pleasant. Rather it was a very conscious effort to keep everything inside me, plus the unconscious convulsion of my lungs to remove something from them that wasn’t supposed to be there, that caused my spew to occur.
Our attitude towards God and His teachings can become very lukewarm, but God wants us to be on fire for Him, or not even claim to be one of His followers at all. He hates it when we do things that may seem “religious” and even deeply “spiritual” but then not put our whole heart into it. If we are just going through religious motions, not really caring or even knowing what we are doing, then we are “sleepwalking Christians”. Like my efforts to keep the hot chocolate inside me, God tries to keep us close to Himself, but my choice to be lukewarm will cause God to spew me out.
“WAKE UP! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God.”
If we are really asleep though how can we wake up unless someone wakes us up? Actually, God is shaking us and trying to wake us up right now! He is saying, “… WAKE UP and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.” - John 4:35 (NLT)
“Go back to [the truth] what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.”
The problem with us humans is that we can look awake and outwardly be “on fire” for God, but our fire tends to die out rather quickly. What we need is a fire in the heart, a change in our thinking, yet we are reminded that as hard as we try we cannot change ourselves from being “bad” to being “good”.
“Can an Ethiopian change the color of his skin? Can a leopard take away its spots? Neither can you start doing good, for you have always done evil.”
So how do we make that change if we cannot do it ourselves? The Bible tells us how. “You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive … ” - John 16:24 (NLT). The Bible goes on to say, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. … ” - Romans 12:2 (NLT). We are to ask God to give us a new heart.
We cannot change ourselves, but God can! If we listen, wake up and ask Him to clean us up then He will put a fire in our hearts, and He will change our thinking. He promised!
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
My prayer for you and for me is that God will wake us up, and give us an attitude that is on fire for people.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” -