Gradually Cold Christian
It's spring break for our children who attend a Memphis suburban school. I get up, pack and go outside to get in the car and the weather is 63 degrees at a little after nine in the morning. I sigh, see my husband in the driver's seat with shorts on, take my coat off, and get in the car. Why do I sigh? Because we're those crazy people who aren't going somewhere warm for our spring break vacation. We're driving North to Chicago in March when it's cold, to see family
The further we continue to drive North, the colder it gets. The first stop for the bathroom and gas fill up was colder, but still bearable. Then my seven year old is getting antsy so we stop again to eat and it's chillier than the last stop. The third and final time we stopped it was no longer acceptable to not have a coat on because of the cold. When we finally arrived in Chicago after seven at night, it's frigid. What a difference just eight and a half hours can make in temperature. We were hot when we left and cold when we arrived. Yet, the change was gradual and didn't happen all of a sudden. There wasn't a large gap in terms of distance, but the impact on the temperature changed the way we dressed and spent our day...inside and not outside at parks and sight seeing.
This had me thinking of times in my life where I was on fire (or hot) for the Lord and seasons where I was ice cold and distant from God. If there's something I've learned through the years about Satan is, he's patient. He has nothing but time. He hates to see us living in the perfect will of God and igniting fires wherever we go. He wants us to be "cold" Christians, not "hot" Christians. The process from being hot and on fire for God to being cold is usually a gradual process. Satan deceives us with small compromises that are so subtle that we may not even notice or we may just brush it off as being "not that big of a deal." We indulge because it just doesn't seem "too far" from what God expects. Yet, before we know it, we're so far from God and living as defeated Christians.
For instance...just a small act of not claiming certain income on my taxes to avoid having to pay taxes. Just one paycheck of not paying tithes. Just giving a few extra dollars here and there occasionally in offering. Spending money on something or giving money to something that goes against God's word. Small compromises. No big deal. Geez Kaitrin, don't be so legalistic.
Ask yourself, are you making these or other small compromises in your finances and then asking God to bless them and wonder why you're always in financial turmoil? Well, ask God to reveal if you haven't been honest with the little He has blessed you with (in terms of taxes, unGodly purchases, etc.) or if you haven't stewarded His resources well (tithing and offering, indulging and not staying within means/budget). This is just one example of making small compromises with finances. There are many other examples from life of how we start off hot and on fire for God and gradually become cold. In whatever area - purity, friendships, relationships, smoking/drinking. Whatever you are compromising.
Sometimes the process of becoming cold is an instant fall...where we are on fire and we get caught up in an instance and fall into being a lukewarm or cold Christian, not living in God's fullness. But usually becoming cold and defeated is gradual, like the temperature change on this spring break trip. And now instead of being outside in freedom, playing in the hot air (like we were in our Southern state), you are confined to the indoors because the cold has you restricted in what you can comfortably do.
Spark a fire. Reclaim ground where you've compromised and settled for things that have you defeated and cold. If you're not yet cold or defeated but have started to compromise in small areas, recognize the signs and revert back to the Holiness that God has called you to. Don't get comfortable in "small" sins. Sin is sin. There are no gradations. Murder is a sin just as stealing a piece of bubble gum is a sin. It all separates you from the fullness of your relationship with God. If God can't trust you with the little things, how can He move you into the greater things He has for you?
"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." Luke 16:10 NIV
Integrity is who you are when no one is looking. But guess what? God is always looking. He is omniscient (all knowing) and omnipresent (present at all places, at all times). You can fool man, but you can't fool God. I wonder if God sighs when He looks down and sees us going from being hot to being cold like I sighed when I got in the car, knowing I'd be leaving the warm South to the cold North.
Resist the devil and he will flee! James 4:7. Don't be spit out as a lukewarm Christian (Revelation 3:15-16). Today choose not to compromise even in the little things, be more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus, and walk knowing that today there is no condemnation because you are now in Christ Jesus. Cheering for you my brothers and sisters!