Certainly you’ve heard that fable about how to boil a frog: You can’t just plunk it into a pot of boiling water like you would a lobster, because (supposedly) a frog will simply jump out to safety. No, you put the frog in a pot of lukewarm water and let him settle into his little frog Jacuzzi, slowly increasing the heat. Somehow this is so soothing, putting the little creature into such a relaxed state, that it doesn’t notice the water is actually boiling him to death. Research has refuted this procedure for boiling frogs, but that doesn’t stop the story from being retold as a warning to those of us who are slow to react to dangers because they come on by mere degrees.
Those who lulled into stasis are compared to these frogs: completely unaware of our dire circumstances and risky predicament. And I’d argue this part of the fable is relevant, even if the boiling part isn’t.
It’s hard to have a right assessment of ourselves and circumstances when we are in them. In this Write 31 Days series, Wake up from Zombie-Like Faith, I’ve been looking at Revelation 3, in which Jesus has some words for the believers at the church of Laodicea. And He tells them they are completely wrong about their current state and the spiritual danger they are in. The believers describe themselves like this:
“For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing” (v. 17).
According to the believers’ report, things are pretty good in life. They are rich, have accomplished lots, and can’t see anything lacking.
Jesus has a different report, however:
[You are] “not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” (v. 17).
Well, these two reports could not be any different from each other. One is all positive: rich, prosperous, no needs. The other is downright scary: wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, naked. It’s almost like the believers see their lives as a soothing soak in life’s Jacuzzi. From Jesus’ perspective, though? That’s no hot tub.
Lukewarm hearts are dangerous because they inhibit our ability to see things rightly. We need the loving correction of someone who can see and discern reality when our zombie-like faith is lulling us into stasis. We need someone who can bring us back from death to life.