111 Degrees!

That’s what my thermometer read yesterday — in the shade!  111 degrees!  Add this Southern humidity to that temperature and it’s almost unbearable for this 50+ old woman. 

I remember as a young girl the heat had little effect on me.  I played outside all summer long.   I remember when we got our first air conditioner: a window unit. (Note “a” window unit; just one for the entire house!)  My grandmother had only an attic fan and, to me, her house was very pleasant.  As a teenager I played softball in 100+ degree weather — and loved it! 

I didn’t understand why people complained so much about the heat and humidity.  Then my family moved to warm-and-sunny South Carolina, then to hot-but-dry Texas, and now back home to hot-and-humid Louisiana.  Man!  This heat is unbearable!  What happened?  Well, I got older, acclimated to a different climate, and spoiled to central air conditioning!

How easily we acclimate to our surroundings — at home, at work, at church, in the community. We like things to be cool and so we become tolerant of the opinions of others, to the practices of our peers, to the tickling-ear sermons at church. And we become intolerant of anything that might make the temperature rise like speaking up on social issues, confronting sinful behaviors, and cut-to-the-quick sermons.  We prefer 68-degree “normal” to 111-degree heat!

That’s called being “lukewarm.”  And according to Revelation 3:16,  lukewarm devotion makes God vomit!  (That’s a literal translation, by the way.) Christ even tells the lukewarm church of Laodicea that He would prefer them cold to lukewarm!  Lukewarm Christians have done more harm to the kingdom of God than even the coldest of atheists.  Lukewarmers make people feel safe in their sin, even secure in their lostness.  And one of the most often heard excuses for not becoming a part of the Church is, “It’s full of hypocrites!”  (Translation: “It’s full of lukewarmers!”)

In Romans 12:11, Paul encourages believers,

“Never be lacking in zeal,
but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” 

The Greek word for fervor is zeo, meaning “to be hot” — like boiling liquid or glowing solids.  Serve the Lord with a red-hot love, with a fiery passion, with a boiling zeal, and with a glowing life.  Don’t be cool and apathetic, acclimating to the world and all it’s sin.  Turn on the heat by speaking up for Truth and living out the Word of God!  Add some humidity to your atmosphere — the water of the Spirit of life!  Let it pour forth from you like searing steam, making it hard for the lost to breathe!  Set them on fire with the Truth!

Let this piercing summer heat remind you to keep up your spiritual fervor as you serve the Lord.  Come on!  Turn your devotion up to 111-degrees!