Stop saying that God prefers for us to be either on fire for him or spiritually cold toward him rather than spiritually struggling somewhere in the middle. Do you really believe a hostile atheist like Richard Dawkins pleases God more than an inconsistent, struggling believer?
When we take the hot as those who have in a vibrant, enthusiast faith, and the cold as being either spiritually apathetic or antagonistic toward God we miss out on the important message that Jesus really was trying to teach the church in Laodicea.
Actually, the hot and cold of Revelation 3 is not a contrast between good and bad options. Both hot and cold are positives expressions set in contrast with the lukewarmness of the Laodicean’s self-sufficiency.
Here is the historic context of the statement, “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
Laodicea didn’t have a supply of good water. The local water had a high lime content.
In contrast to Laodicea are the water supplies of both Hierapolis and Colossae. Hierapolis had healing hot springs used by people to treat a number of maladys like arthitis. Colossae was fed by refreshing, cool mountain streams (remember the Nestea plunge?).
Since, Laodicea didn’t have their own source of water they piped the cool water in from Colossae 20 miles away. However, by the time it reached Laodicea it was rancid and tepid.
Jesus takes this issue related to the local water supply to teach the Laodiceans a spiritual lesson. Laodicea had developed a spiritual malaise because of their self-satisfaction and self-sufficiency. Jesus described their self-assessment as “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.” With that spiritually lethargic attitude Laodicea had ceased to make a influence on its community as either a place of spiritual healing, where broken lives were being put back together, or of spiritual refreshment, where weary souls were being revitalized.
Here is the point Jesus is making: God desires that we be a healing or a refreshing community, rather than a community which is useless and worthless due to our spiritual lethargy.
— Pastor Steve