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

We have often heard this passage from revelation and the warning that comes from having a lukewarm faith; let us take this moment as we near the end of Lent to reflect on what that means and how we must apply it to our lives as Christians. To be lukewarm is to be neither cold nor hot, and we often experience this in many aspects of our lives; it is the mundane, the banal, the ordinary, the routine. In our Christian life, we can experience this as well. We develop a routine that becomes so regular that it can almost seem boring. This signals that we have become lukewarm in our faith, which is dangerous to our spiritual well-being.

A few months ago, I wrote an article on developing a warrior mindset for spiritual combat; in that article, I discussed the need to become vigilant. Vigilance combats complacency, and complacency can lead to what we call lukewarm faith. So, let us be vigilant and fight complacency to avoid becoming lukewarm. But what exactly is lukewarm faith? It is when Christians stop striving and settle for “good enough” or the “bare minimum.” Christ said in Luke 13:24, “strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”

When we become lukewarm in our faith and allow the bore of routine to creep into our faith life, we begin to only “go through the motions” of our Christianity. We make ourselves vulnerable to the temptations of the Devil that drive us to stop striving toward the narrow door. Not only do we stop striving for the narrow door, but we lose sight of the door altogether, distracted by things of the world. We become in danger of forgetting there is a door at all.

Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 4:7-10 that we must “train [ourselves] in godliness” because it “holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come,” which is the “end we toil and strive (toward).” So, we must continue striving because, as Paul continues, “we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially those who believe.”

But how do we combat lukewarm faith? We must eliminate the complacency in our faith, the “this is good enough,” and replace it with what I like to call “improving your foxhole.” As a leader of soldiers, I always communicate that you must continually improve your foxhole, whatever your “foxhole” is. Maybe it is our jobs or desks at work, but in the context of our Christianity, our foxhole is our faith in Christ that protects us from the wiles of the Devil through grace. If you are at your foxhole for a day, dig it deeper. If you are there for two days, raise the berm. If you are there for a week, add sandbags, etc. You must always build upon the fortification of your foxhole to prepare for the imminent attack. The same applies to spiritual combat and our faith. We must build upon the fortification of our life in Christ that protects us from the temptation of placing something other than the narrow door that leads to Christ as a priority in our lives.

The longer we stay in our foxhole, the more it must be fortified, so we continually improve and build upon it. A different prayer at the beginning of every meal, or maybe a paragraph from the life of the saints. Say the rosary at night as a family, and if that proves too challenging, start with just a decade or even a nightly Our Father and Hail Mary. Then add more, and when something wears out, repair it or replace it with something new or different. The Church offers 2,000 years of wisdom and tradition to draw upon, so use it, always keeping the mass as the foundation of our foxhole.

Remember, complacency kills, and so will lukewarm faith. If we fail to strive to enter by the narrow door, we will be spit out, and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Rev 3:15-16, Lk 13:28, Mt 8:12).

Matthew Weller — SFA Theologians Guild Member