DURING A BIBLE STUDY AT A COFFEE SHOP, IN BETWEEN SIPS OF AN ICED AMERICANO, we read Proverbs 4:18,19: “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.”
Someone said: “I don’t feel like I’m walking in the darkness (evil) right now. But I also don’t feel like I’m walking in the light (good).” They were talking about being in-between – not a good person, not quite an evil one. This was life. And it was okay…almost.
THE MOST INTERESTING CHARACTERS on Netflix, Kindle and YouTube are always the conflicted – a little hero, a little villain. We relate to them much more than the pristine Clark Kent/Superman’s or the villainous Star Wars Supreme Leader Snook’s of the world who are either purely good or purely evil. An in-between character can play it both ways, good or bad. We like that.
In-between. Neither good nor bad, part one, part the other. Not willing to commit to either. In-between is “gray” spirituality – where we want to believe but not commit. Or where we don’t believe, but want to commit. Maybe we’re stuck, not knowing what to believe.
For followers of Jesus Christ, in-between gray colored spirituality should never be the primarily long-term color of our relationship with God. It may shade our spirituality from time to time in trials (“Where are you God?”), temptations (“I know I shouldn’t God, but…”) and trivia (“I’m bored with this church/bible thing, God.”), but lukewarm numbness isn’t God’s desire for a relationship with Him, even in difficult seasons. God is big enough to understand our struggles and helps us, if we want His help. Sometimes struggle is good. Life is hard and full of evil and coming to grips with that and the strengthening of our faith is a big part of our sanctification [James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 4:1,2]. For me, the experience of God being there as several people in my own family either died or suffered greatly over the past several years attest to this.
But Jesus also said the following polarizing words to those who were gray in their vacillation of whether or not to believe in Him at all as Lord and Savior:
“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold (rejecting Him) or hot (following Him)! So because you are lukewarm (gray spirituality) and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” [Revelation 3:15,16].
Colorful language! Not expected that Jesus would rather an unbeliever openly reject Him than live undecided about Him. For those who do not follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior, the indecision/numbness of a gray in-between spirituality should be temporary at most. To be in a place where we neither embrace the light of his life/death/resurrection nor fully embrace the darkness of fully rejecting Him is dangerous, Jesus warned. Sinners steeped in their darkness can recognize their need for a savior. But in-between Pharisees and stoics are the hardest crowd for Him to reach.
God allows us to choose in-between uncommitted spirituality. The question is whether we want to stay there. We should remember that everyone will in the end be known by God as either darkness or light, with no in-between.