Is Your Love Growing Cold?

 

 

“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved,” Matt. 24:12-13. 

Love growing cold–Jesus described it as one aspect of the times before His coming. By the media, however, you might think “love” is as hot as ever. Sensual Super Bowl commercials a couple weeks ago portrayed a sultry heat. That “love” may be enticing, but by God’s standard it is cold, hollow–and tempting. Though worldly pressure makes it difficult, our challenge is to live righteously nevertheless. 

Our culture constantly entices us by the allure of fleshly desires (2 Peter 2:18). That allure leads us into the lawlessness Jesus forewarned and the coldness that must follow. Such a chain strays far from God’s ideal love. What is His ideal? Paul beautifully illustrates it in 1 Corinthians 13. 

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails….But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, 13. (emphasis mine) 

This is love–the fruit of the Spirit God forms in us. It takes work, but it is “the greatest of these.” Remember, though, increased lawlessness ices most people’s love. Consider what Paul writes about lawless men and the difficulty to live with them in 2 Timothy 3:1-4.

 “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” 

Do these characteristics resonate today? Absolutely! They also diametrically oppose the love of 1 Corinthians 13. Whenever I study the Bible and come across such contrasts, I like to list them out and see what I can learn: 

 


 

The list could go on. Men in the last days are volatile. Love never fails. Love does not act unbecomingly. Yet how do these men of the last days behave? How do people today behave? The result–lawlessness and cold love. 

The challenge to live in these last days is to live against cold love–cold love to family, friends, even strangers. I see coldness’ effects on marriages. The once distant, sad reality of high divorce numbers becomes real in the faces of my single friends. They look for a love to grow old with, but the statistics haunt me–how many of them will divorce?  When you and your friends want a love, how do you fight a culture that turns “the greatest of these” into a sex driven shell? God, how do we live in these last days? 

Look again with me at Matthew 24:12-13. Contrasts, often signaled by the word “but” or “however,” are so important to catch when reading the Word. I use a bold color to mark them in my Bible to see them easily: 

“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. BUT the one who endures to the end, he will be saved,” (emphasis mine). 

How do we fight in these last days? Endurance. 

Hebrews 12:1-2 says:

 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

 Endurance comes with shedding encumbrances. You can’t run hard and long with stuff, innocent or evil, weighing you down. What is encumbering your race for God? 

Endurance comes with the right focus. What do you look at? Jesus’ eyes were on the joy set before Him. Our eyes need to be on Jesus. 

Endurance comes with trial. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance,” (James 1:2-3). Ritchie Johnson aptly defined two mottos for guys and girls in our last days culture. For girls it is “Love me.” For guys it is “Entertain me.” Warring against fleshly desires that fulfill those mottos is our constant trial (1 Peter 2:11). 

The ability to stand up under–to endure–the pressure of these last days is a God produced virtue that perfects us (James 1:4). Yet we cannot not stand under that pressure of sensuality, lawlessness, and cold love by our own will. Thankfully, it is Christ who makes us strong (Phil. 4:19). It is God who gives us wisdom (James 1:5-6). It is God who gives us love and power and discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). By His working through us He will produce purity and strength in us. Then our race may be encumbrance free and our life a testimony to His warm Light.  

In these last days, may He use us to proclaim His saving love. May the world see in us what is truly the greatest of these.

 

Stephanie has been serving the past couple of years with Transform Student Ministries as a Boot Camp and Conference Staffer. Stephanie was also, a part of the Intern Program in 2010.

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