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Tag Archives: lukewarm

Are You Willfully Living Outside of God’s Will?

A stubborn and determined intention to do as one wants, regardless of the consequences is consistent with someone who possesses a willful personality. Similar to a narcissist, willful acts are deliberate, with an excessive interest on themselves. Like any bad habit, the further you deviate and go off on your own, the more difficult it becomes to yield control to someone else. This might explain why some Christians are still willfully living outside of God’s will.

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions), so that when it fails, they [those you have favored] may receive and welcome you into the everlasting habitations (dwellings). 10 He who is faithful in a very little [thing] is faithful also in much, and he who is dishonest and unjust in a very little [thing] is dishonest and unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the [case of] unrighteous mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions), who will entrust to you the true riches? – Luke 16:9-11

The college years tend to be the most difficult period for Christians to hold on to faith, especially when you attend a secular college or university. As for me, I was like a teeter totter, going up and down and back and forth. After abandoning God my first semester to explore the party scene, I made Jesus the Lord of my life at a retreat during winter session. At least I thought I did until each summer was spent drifting and slipping away, going clubbing on the Flats in downtown Cleveland every weekend.

For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]—Ephesians 1:5

This sinful cycle finally came to an end my senior year of college, after breaking my ankle while playing sand volleyball. Stuck in bed my finally two weeks of that summer, I reached my spiritual point of no return. Sick of my lukewarm faith, the Clash song Should I Stay of Should I Go describes the thoughts rushing through my head. After days of contemplation and prayer, I ended 4 years of willfully living outside of God’s will. Reminded of a song from a Lay Witness Mission that I attended in college, the following words confirmed my decision, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.”

by Jay Mankus

Obstacles that Block the Power of the Holy Spirit from Shining Through You

The phrase “old self” appears 91 times in the Bible. Meanwhile, taking off the old self occurs 22 times in the New Testament. The “old self” refers to your unregenerate life prior to entering into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Colossians 3:5-9. In a letter to the Church at Colosse, the apostle Paul calls members of this congregation to put to death their old self. Experiencing the abundant life in Christ, John 10:10, is not possible until previous attitudes, behaviors, and mindsets have been transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, 20 Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), Galatians 5:19-20.

Unfortunately, the desires of the flesh are opposed to the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:17. These earthly desires create a spiritual barrier that blocks, hinders, and stunts spiritual growth. Similar to Jesus’ analogy of light and darkness in Matthew 6:19-23, if the darkness of your past still lurks and resides within you, how great is this darkness? Revelation 3:15-16 refers to these type of Christians as lukewarm, cooled by an unwillingness to let go of your old self. Symptoms of this condition are listed above and below. If any of these character flaws rise to the surface, it’s time to put to death your old self.

Envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God, Galatians 5:21.

According to the apostle Paul, the only way to break free from addiction, bad habits, and earthly cravings is by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. Until you yield complete control over to God, sinful desires will continue to ravage your soul. A new life in Christ isn’t meant to be discarded after your love for Jesus fades away. Rather, the author of Hebrews refers to this spiritual journey as a marathon, Hebrews 12:1-3, with members from heaven watching and urging you to keep going. Like any race, you may have to stop and walk for a while, but with the Holy Spirit at your back, change is possible if you believe and persevere.

by Jay Mankus

Half Ass, Half Hearted or All In?

I started working more than 30 years ago. From the very beginning, there was a sense of competition, striving to do your very best each and every day, hoping to receive recognition. Regardless of the backgrounds of my former co-workers, each possessed a conscientious spirit, a desire for promotion and integrity. To move up in a company, you had to step up your game, arriving early, staying late and putting your whole heart into work.

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied., Proverbs 13:4.

More than 3 decades later, I have seen work ethic slowly decline. While teaching high school for 10 years, I began to notice apathy settle in. This lack of zeal for greatness began to influence discipline, focus and study habits. Apparently, this mindset has carried over into the workplace. If you had to separate the masses into three groups, most would fit into one of three categories: half-ass, half-hearted or all in.

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth,” Revelation 3:15-16.

The Bible refers to individuals who are neither hot or cold as lukewarm. One of Jesus’ disciples has a vision of heaven, writing down what he heard and saw. Based upon the passage above, God despises people who are on again and off again. The Lord desires commitment, not dangling on both sides of a fence. Sure, the easy thing to do is take the easy route, pick and choose the quickest path which makes you look better than others. Yet, God only has one acceptable response, all in, Matthew 16:24-25.

by Jay Mankus

Active, Lukewarm or Dead?

Animated, bubbly, dynamic, energetic, perky and vigorous are all synonyms which highlight active individuals.  When you came in contact with these lively souls, its possible to feed off of their enthusiasm.  During Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encouraged his followers to add flavor to the lives of people you encounter, Matthew 5:13-16.  When actions and words co-exist, faith rubs off on others, similar to a lamp shining light into the darkness of this world.

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth, Revelation 3:16.

Prior to modern appliances, cooling drinks or adding ice cubes wasn’t an option.  Thus, past civilizations were forced to endure room temperature drinks.  The Bible refers to this as lukewarm.  The context in which this term is applied signifies an inactive faith.  From a spiritual point of view, idle faith is an insult to God, void of salt and light.  Unfortunately, I find myself closer to lukewarm than active.  In fact, in recent weeks I am hovering somewhere between a lukewarm and dying faith.

For just as the [human] body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works [of obedience] is also dead, James 2:26.

When talking about judgment, Jesus uses the expression take the plank out of your own eye before criticizing someone else, Matthew 7:1-5.  One of the members in the audience that day opens up about his own life in the passage above.  Taking a look in the mirror from a spiritual perspective, James looks back at a time in his life when his faith was dead.  Despite being raised by Mary and Joseph, James’ faith was lukewarm at best until the resurrection of Jesus.  I guess we all need a wake up call at some point.  May this blog awaken your soul to activate your faith, fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

It’s a Yes or No Question

In an ever expanding politically correct world, expressing your true feelings can be dangerous.  If honest, heart felt opinions are shared which don’t fit into the socially accepted ideology, expect Twitter to light up.  When human beings are verbally assaulted, its natural to become coy, hiding what you really believe.  This sets the stage for responses to be on the fence, often giving maybes to a yes or no questions.

All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one, Matthew 5:37.

In his sermon on the Mount, Jesus verbalizes his concern over people falling into the temptation to give lukewarm replies.  When asked a question, you shouldn’t confuse or lead people on.  Rather, just come out and keep the vows you make.  Anything that you can’t commit to, just say no.  Any other choice or option is inspired by the Devil.

Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that,” James 4:15.

The earthly brother of Jesus adds to this concept.  However, James encourages individuals to take life one day at a time.  Trying to please people can lead to disappointment or cause someone to be over extended.  Therefore, keep your life in the context of the Lord’s will.  Life is too short to promise this or that.  Rather, live each day as if the Lord is returning today.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Sharp, Sloppy or Somewhere in Between

After experiencing a mediocre 2015, I vowed to alter my priorities in 2016.  Early on I was sharp, starting each day off on the right foot with a quiet time in the Bible, prayer and workout sessions.  By the end of January, my daily routine had become second nature.  Yet, somewhere over the last month, I have gotten careless, allowing a lukewarm spirit to enter my soul.

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another, Proverbs 27:17.

Over the weekend, the verse above served as a reminder to what I was missing.  To remain sharp takes time, effort and being open to change.  While the average American can’t afford a personal trainer to keep you in shape, other believers can serve as a life coach.  Meeting together, interacting and talking walks together can be the boost or motivation to stop being sloppy and begin to maximize the life God has given you.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing,” John 15:5.

Like anything in life, everyone experiences cycles, periods where things clicks and phases where nothing flows.  So whether you are sharp, sloppy or somewhere in between, Jesus’ words in the gospel of John provides hope for those struggling.  The analogy within this passage illustrates God as a gardener who prunes those unproductive areas of our lives.  However, individuals must stay connected to the vine, Jesus, to remain sharp.  Therefore, if you feel like you can’t go any further or are sick of mediocre results, reach out to Jesus today and you will find life.

by Jay Mankus

A Day of Laziness

While some individuals will be making last second New Year’s resolutions, there is an invisible obstacle that tends to sneak up on the unassuming.  Commercials such as “you deserve a break today” feed into this mindset.  Thus, if you let your guard down, become complacent or careless, a day of laziness can be the beginning of the end of your dreams.

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied, Proverbs 13:4.

As I reflect upon what is left of 2015, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been a victim of days of laziness.  Somewhere along the way, a laissez-faire spirit entered my body.  Sleeping in here and a lack of discipline there has resulted in a luck luster year.  Before I could mount a comeback, compromise has stalled my momentum, leaving sorrow and pain in my heart.

The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor, Proverbs 21:25.

Unfortunately, my spiritual state is like a lukewarm bottle of water on a sunny spring day.  Poor decisions on days of laziness have led me to a tattered soul.  There is no one else to blame but me.  The only blessing is that tomorrow is another day filled with God’s mercy, forgiveness and grace.  Therefore, I press on, hoping to avoid days of laziness in 2016 so I can begin to take hold of that which God has prepared for me in advance to do.

by Jay Mankus

 

Leaning on a Broken Stool

In Christian Education, a three legged stool is used as a visual aid to illustrate core essentials to maintain a healthy and  stable life.  Each leg symbolizes a key ingredient: a church home, godly family and development of a biblical world view.  If any of these three elements are missing, individuals will never be able to fully experience an abundant life in Christ.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full, John 10:10.

Whether you’re married or single, its easy to cut corners, making the best with what you have.  Subsequently, one might become a casual attender to church, replace family with friends or dust off your Bible every once in a while to make yourself feel good.  This type of mentality is toxic, poisoning your faith, leaving many to lean on a broken stool.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!   So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth, Revelation 3:15-16.

As I examine the lack of success in my life the past three years, it can be directly attributed to a weakened foundation of faith.  Compromise, neglect and a lukewarm spirit has spawned mediocre results.  If you’re fluttering along like me, perhaps you need to re-evaluate the stool you’re sitting on.  Find a church to call home, seek reconciliation with those family members you’ve strayed from and set aside time every day to enrich your life with the Bible.  When these three legs are secure, you will begin to taste God’s daily bread.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

A Fast Food Faith

When households began to outlive their annual income, moms decided to pursue a new career.  With both parents working, the thought of cooking dinner didn’t sit too well.  Thus, the fast food revolution exploded during the 1980’s as tv dinners were replaced by restaurants and meals to go.  Subsequently, faith has followed a similar path.

There are 2 different types of fast food faiths.  One view is faith on the run.  Whether its over sleeping, struggling to find time for God or merely forgetting the Lord, individuals slow down for a quick spiritual meal.  This often involves a little devotional like Our Daily Bread, a short prayer and perhaps even a time of reflection before time ushers you off to your next appointment of the day.  Although, this is a good starting place, a life style like this will result in a lukewarm faith, Revelation 3:15-16.

The second type of fast food faiths involves accepting the reality of our culture and maximizing what restaurants have to offer.  Bill Hybels, founder of Willow Creek Church in Chicago, takes some time each summer to vacation in Michigan.  One of his favorite spiritual refuges is a Burger King.  Using free refills to his advantage, Bill finds a quiet booth in the back, opens up his Bible as God revitalizes him with a supernatural fast food faith.

Today, hearts, minds and souls are in desperate need of real food.  Yet, no one is forcing you to leave the confines of your own home.  With distractions only a computer, phone call or television away, perhaps you need to find a place like Mark 1:35.  You may choose a fast faith chow down and go on your merry way?  Or, for the hungry, you may prefer a spiritual buffet of biblical truth?  May the Holy Spirit fill you with a Matthew 5:6 mentality so that your fast food faith fulfills your appetite.

by Jay Mankus

 

Double Trouble: One Foot in Heaven and the Other in Hell

Anna Chapman, Klaus Fuchs and Frank Abagnale Jr. all have one thing in common, each lived a secret life as a spy for years until eventually having their cover blown.  Even in a normal day to day setting, the desire to be accepted socially does persuade some to become fake, afraid that others will reject who they really are.  Thus, when a student enters college as a freshman, some chose to blend in, living a double life.

I fell into this trap during the years at the University of Delaware.  For a semester, I was one of the most popular freshman on campus, known as one of the 4 horsemen, getting all the invites to parties, hanging out late and playing sports on “the Beach” in place of studying.  When no one was looking, I snuck out of my dorm to attend the Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting once a week as a close Christian.  Essentially, I limited my faith to once a week, for an hour, with one foot in heaven and the other in hell.

Unfortunately, this cycle repeated itself during my senior year of college.  Although my faith was not hidden at school, the summer provided a leave of absence from God, indulging in the pleasures on earth.  While not everything I did was evil, I spent too much time dangling on the fence.  I was the epitome of lukewarm, following in the footsteps of the church at Laodicea, Revelation 3:15-16.  This act of double trouble forced me to make a decision, should I stay or should I go?  Though it has not been smooth sailing, I’d rather be on a narrow path than a road that leads to destruction, Matthew 7:13-14.

by Jay Mankus

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