Hot- And Cold-Running Christians

Wednesday, August 28, 2019
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1 Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (ESV)

The sign read, "House for Rent. Hot and Cold Running Water."

Though laughable now, there was a time when having indoor plumbing was a luxury that only the wealthy knew anything about. Water was drawn from a well or creek and was carried indoors. Getting hot water meant cutting wood and placing cold water in pots in the fireplace or on a wood-burning stove.

On a recent mid-August trip through the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, my wife and I noticed the tree leaves in the highest elevations turning. Odd this early, I thought, but then again, that's what tree leaves do. As the summer season draws to a close and the daylight hours get shorter, the leaves lose their luminescence and reveal their natural colour. The yellows were shining through beautifully.

Christians shouldn't run hot and cold or change seasonally like tree leaves. Paul encouraged the early believers to be steadfast in their love for the Lord, as well as in their work for Him. Only by steadfastness would they be able to fulfill Jesus' great commission to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

We hear a lot about pastors burning out and leaving the pulpit, but I've known quite a few regular Christians who burned out, too. Burnout can come from trying too hard to alleviate feelings of guilt over past sins, from wrong motives for serving, or from trying to boost one's self-esteem.

Another entire set tends to drop out rather than burn out. Among 18- to 22-year-olds, around 70% drop out of church after graduating from high school. Reasons they give for doing so include life changes, needing a break, moving away to college, work interference, judgmental or unfriendly pastors or church members, a change in their views, or an acknowledgement that previously they were only trying to please someone by attending.

God's work requires steadfast determination. The abundant life that Jesus offers requires the same. Otherwise, we'll change like the leaves or run hot and cold like water. The power to remain steadfast doesn't lie in us, but in God's Spirit indwelling us. He provides the want-to that keeps us keeping on — and for the right reasons.

Don't run hot and cold or turn like the leaves. Serve God with consistency and diligence.

Prayer: Father, enable us to check our motives for serving You, and then, give us staying power to serve You faithfully until the end. Amen.

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About the author:

Martin Wiles <>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Enjoy your devotions.

    Thanks, Martin, for this encouragement.

    Thanks for sharing this devotional with us that brought back so many memories of children’s programs. Blessings and prayers.

    Martin, Thank you for your encouragement which reminded me of Romans 12:11 in which Paul encourages us to keep our spiritual fervor. Blessings.

    Good morning, Martin,
    Thanks for the illustration of using wood stoves to heat water! I remember letting circumstances determine my church attendance after graduating high school. It was a huge mistake. Running cold starves the spiritual life. Thank you for writing.

    Really helps me, Martin. Draws me in and lets me enjoy the colors through your eyes. It also reminds me that, ‘Trying is dying.’ I Need God’s Help. I can’t live this Christian life on my own willpower. I can’t do it alone. Christ in me, He is the one that does the work. Much love to you and your wife.

    Dear Martin Wiles,
    What you wrote is very fine. Thanks.
    I would like to read from you another message that follows this one, a message suggesting ways in which the person receives the power of God’s Spirit to “keep on”– like in regular Bible reading and prayer.

    Hello Martin.
    Very good devotional. Your comment of the “hot and cold water” sure brought back the memories of the old wood stove with a water reservoir attached! Yes, we need be consistent in our faithfulness and honour to our loving Lord as He is ever ready to shower us with love and care.
    Blessings to you,

    I guess they only have pay washrooms in Europe where they have attendants.

    Yes, do you not remember restaurants would have a sign at the door or front window cool inside, or when we had to pay to use a public washroom I remember working cash at a Walmart if we were in a hurry, we had to use public washrooms I think it was a dime so the saying “here I sit broken hearted paid a dime and only f****d”. Our kids are all over 50 none remember having to pay. I do think they gave up if we did not have a dime somebody would crawl under the door then let the rest of us in one at a time, the door would be about a foot off the floor.
    Enjoy your devotions.

    Hi Martin
    Good words. It is indeed a sign of the times, people leaving church, young and old alike. We need to listen to God’s words and carry on with, as you stated, steadfast determination. Not always easy!

    Great message, Martin!

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