“Oh ‘spew thee out of my mouth!’”
Marti chose one of my favorite biblical phrases to write about yesterday. Growing up on King James English, at least where the Bible was concerned, this used to be one our favorite sayings among my Christian friends: “Oh ‘spew thee out of my mouth!’” We used it when we were not happy with someone. It’s a phrase that definitely gets your attention. I understand this at a visceral level. I’ll drink coffee hot or iced, but coffee that’s been sitting there for a while and is now at room temperature, or even partially warm, I’ll get it in my mouth and just spit it out. I used to think this verse was about regurgitation, but I think it’s more at an introductory level. God’s relationship with someone with a mediocre commitment is not going to go very far. I think that’s the picture here.
It has to do with taste. God wants to have a relationship with us, but He wants a real relationship. He’ll take us hot or cold, just not in-between. In other words, cold is preferable to lukewarm. Lukewarm is not committed to anything. It’s wishy-washy. It shares elements of both hot and cold, picking what is most convenient at any given time, or, as Marti mentioned, lukewarm takes the most comfortable position.
In George Barna’s most recent survey of Christians in America (Maximum Faith by George Barna), he has found that 82% of those who would claim to be Christians as exhibiting the characteristics of lukewarmness. They may attend church and identify themselves as Christians socially and politically, but their lives do not exhibit any indication that they have been spiritually transformed. As Marti pointed out, they haven’t gone through any suffering or discipline. The Laodicean Christians had not been transformed by the indwelling Christ. Why else would Jesus be outside knocking on the door of their hearts?
That was a true eye-opener for me this time through this passage. I’ve always seen this picture used in an evangelistic way as Christ knocking on the door of an unbeliever’s heart, but these people were believers; they were church goers who were keeping Christ outside of their lives.
Cold is better than lukewarm. I remember something I read once by Martin Luther where he said, in effect, if you’re going to sin, sin mightily. Jesus would rather have you as a cold, sinful pagan than a half-baked Christian.
“Oh ‘spew thee out of my mouth!’” could be the best thing that could happen to a half-baked Christian. At least then, we could find out the truth about ourselves, and open the door.