Letting it Get Cold
When a meal is supposed to be hot, it’s not nearly as appetizing if it’s allowed to get cold.
Our Lord gave some serious warnings about the time right before his return—some of them concerning his own followers. Persecution will cause many to fall away and betray one another (Matthew 24:9-10). False prophets will lead many astray (verse 11). And, I suggest every bit as serious: “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (verse 12).
What does it mean in practice, that love grows cold? What does it look like? It must be important! As a start, we might consider, what love is he talking about?
What does it mean in practice, that love grows cold?
Is it love for God that grows cold? The first and greatest commandment not heeded? The lack of a fervent (i.e. hot) love for God might result in going through the motions, out of habit or because it’s just easier than explaining, resulting in a coolness in our serving, our worship. Not as much attention paid to God’s word any more. Maybe too busy, or maybe just tired of it.
Thinking about the second commandment, it might be love of our neighbor that grows cold. Maybe it’s the “as yourself” part that gets colder—more attention given to self in difficult times.
Maybe it’s particularly the neighbors who are our brothers and sisters. Jesus very pointedly and repeatedly emphasized that we are to love one another. Cooling might be seen in declining participation in the functions we as believers engage in together. Again, not loving the neighbor quite as much as we do ourself—reflected in how we spend our time, our emotional energy.
And another one. Paul writes to his protégé Timothy, “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8) What if it’s love for his appearing that’s growing cold as we wait? We’ve been waiting so long, we tell ourselves. Life goes on. We can’t maintain a fever pitch of expectation forever.
What do we have to offer our Father and our Lord? Only our love, really. It’s what we can give them. Not just a feeling, but a life that demonstrates our love. When we allow love to get cold, we’re serving up a dish that’s no longer appetizing. It’s not that there’s no love at all—but is what we’re serving up all it should be? Or is it disappointingly lukewarm?
When love for our Lord’s appearing does get stirred up within us, we pay attention to the signs he left for us, don’t we? We should! Why else did he bother giving them? Along with the other signs, let’s make sure this one is in our awareness. Maybe even more than the others, since it’s aimed directly at us. Love cooling off is a sign of the end, and we really don’t want to be the ones fulfilling it!