When I use the word "lukewarm" to describe a person's love for Jesus, I don't mean he is cold toward the Lord. Rather, I mean his love is "inexpensive"—not costly. Let me give you an example: When Jesus addresses the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2, He first commends them for all they have done. He acknowledges that they have labored hard in the faith—hating sin and compromise, refusing to accept false doctrines, never fainting or giving up when persecuted, always taking a stand for the gospel. But, Christ says, He holds one thing against them: They have forsaken their fervent, expensive love for Him! "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love" (Revelation 2:4).
Somehow amid all their good works, they left behind their loving, disciplined walk with Jesus. And now He tells them, "You have left your first love and forsaken the costly discipline of coming into My presence to commune with Me."
Please note: Jesus is speaking here of believers who started out with a burning love for Him, not to cold, nominal Christians who never loved Him in the first place. He is saying, "It's possible for someone who once had a heart of love for Me to let his zeal become lukewarm, seldom praying at all."
Think about how insulting this must be to Christ, our Bridegroom. What kind of marriage can there be when a husband and wife have no private times of intimacy? And that's just what Jesus is talking about here. He wants moments with you all to Himself!
It does not matter how loudly you praise the Lord in church, how much you say you love Him, how many tears you shed. You can give generously, love others, hate sin, rebuke wrongdoers, but if your heart is not being continually drawn to Christ's presence, you have lost your love for Him.
All our works are in vain unless we return to our bright, burning love for Jesus. We have to realize, "Loving Jesus isn't just about doing things. It involves the daily discipline of maintaining a relationship, and that will cost me something."