God doesn’t want His people to get stuck in neutral whose life is like a “neutral” color designed not to be seen. How many of us simply blend in without a desire to engage…go along to get along? We want safe without friction, comfort without confrontation, a peacekeeper who is always agreeable and never a peacemaker who is willing to confront when a situation calls for it.
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 went. 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. However…
Jesus does not want His followers to be stuck in neutral. He has no desire for our lives to be about comfort, convenience, simple, and easy without drama. Christ makes His intentions known 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. “Lukewarm” is nice and easy but not what God wants.
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 the frog is getting cooked. Are we not like the frog?
One of Apostle Paul’s spiritual sons was Timothy who did not like confrontation often shying away from it. 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 preferred 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 out of neutral!