God doesn’t want His people to get stuck in neutral meaning someone who is unwilling or afraid to take a side, a person who simply blends in, an individual who is unwilling to get engaged, or somebody who is neither positive nor negative with no desire to be called on or called out. A neutral person’s desire is to be a peacekeeper always agreeable and never a peacemaker who often confronts. They want safe without friction and like a “neutral” color designed not to be seen. If you think about it, a neutral person is not in control but controlled by others. I remember as a young kid in the mid-1950’s, my dad had an old chevy pickup which he would shift into neutral when going down large hills so that the motor was not engaged saving gas. Once in neutral, this old truck did not dictate its speed but allowed the steepness of the hill to determine how fast it goes. It’s the same in life. While in neutral, we do not have to engage in the torque and drama of living keeping it simple. “Hey, I’m letting others take care of that stuff.”
Jesus does not want His followers to be stuck in neutral. He has no desire for our lives to be about what’s comfortable, convenient, simple, or easy with no drama “thank you.” Christ makes His intentions known very clearly in Revelation 3:15-16, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Graphically and emphatically, Jesus has no desire for us to be stuck in neutral.
It reminds me of the old story about how to cook a frog. When you put a frog in a pot of water, you want the temperature to be comfortable or it will jump out. The key is to keep the frog comfortable by increasing the heat very slowly. The frog is having a nice experience enjoying this sauna with a casual yawn or two along the way, eyes slowly shutting feeling drowsy and the need for sleep. Before he knows it, the water is boiling, and frog is getting cooked.
We need to have a wake-up moment here. Like the frog, are we so comfortable with our lives and lifestyles with “little to no needs” and all along we are sitting in a pot of water that is slowly getting hotter and hotter?
One of Apostle Paul’s spiritual sons was Timothy who did not like confrontation often shying away from it with a desire to sit on the sidelines. 2 Timothy 1:6-8 declares, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” Timothy liked things to stay on an even keel. However, Paul disrupted Timothy and told him to jump out of the pot of comfort and convenience and get engaged.
It’s time to shift gears and get out of neutral.