Lukewarmness is smothering life, watered down.
Plants grow well in moist soil that is not too wet and not too dry. We grow in our faith by daily coming to God’s word, by spending time with God everyday in prayer, by singing hymns of praise, by worshipping our one true God and by fellowship with other Christians.
We do not grow well when surrounded by our personal baggage, we need to let it go, we need to just get over it. It is easier to live with addictions than to get rid of them, it is easier to gain weight than to lose weight, it is easier to not say anything when something should really be said. It takes effort to simplify our lives, to focus on the important things, to let go of the things that rip up our faith.
John Henry Yates spent some time working with shoes, as a salesman, as a manufacturer and then let that buying and selling part of his life go. He just stopped doing it, he became a travelling temperance advocate and pastor. He encouraged people to give up alcohol. He was also a poet and hymnwriter, his hymn “The Model Chuch” is lovely and the one below has an easy to learn melody.
Vimto is one of the only surviving temperance drinks from England, there is a small temperance bar in Lancashire that still serves black beer and raisin and Sarsaparilla and they have had some success in distributing their products in recent years but Vimto [now available in Ireland] has a special place in my life because it reminds me of sitting with my mates on a Saturday in our big town [really small village] and drinking mugs filled with steaming hot Vimto. Our parents were happy because we were not drinking alcohol and we were happy because the guy who owned the cafe let us sit there for hours. Pleasant memories.
When Vimto first wanted to be exported it hit barrier upon barrier due to its contents. It had never put on the label what was in it. It had a secret recipe that it wanted to maintain. There were ingredients that were deemed by the EU as unsafe and for various other reasons but it overcame them and now is for sale all over Europe.
When we first take our baby steps with faith we hit barrier upon barrier to tear it down, to change it, to mould it in a tangential form. We have to be strong, deny ouselves, and keep doing the daily stuff to overcome the world and run the race with each step purposeful. “Let tents of ease be left behind”
He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Luke 17:6
It is not easy, it is joyous, it is wonderful, it is good.
The basic theme of the hymn mentioned comes from
I Jn. 5:4, “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.”
Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers, rise.
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled.
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.
Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory!
O glorious victory, that overcomes the world.
His banner over us is love,
Our sword the Word of God.
We tread the road the saints above
With shouts of triumph trod.
By faith, they like a whirlwind’s breath,
Swept on o’er every field.
The faith by which they conquered death
Is still our shining shield.
On every hand the foe we find
Drawn up in dread array.
Let tents of ease be left behind,
And onward to the fray.
Salvation’s helmet on each head,
With truth all girt about,
The earth shall tremble ’neath our tread,
And echo with our shout.
To him that overcomes the foe,
White raiment shall be giv’n.
Before the angels he shall know
His name confessed in Heav’n.
Then onward from the hill of light,
Our hearts with love aflame,
We’ll vanquish all the hosts of night,
In Jesus’ conqu’ring Name.