"Cold Love or Hot Hearts?"

What sign will signal your return and the end of the world? … You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:3b,9b-12 NLT) Ministering recently to an seasoned sister in the Lord (an elderly lady), she shared, “Pastor David, why don’t people truly care anymore. Nobody seems to want to love others like they used too … people once stopped by and just spent time together … they seemed to enjoy just being with each other … people just seem to love LESS today than ever before in my lifetime ... I just want a friend to love me as I want to love them ... why don’t people want to love others like they use too?” My heart sank as she opened her heart and in honestly shared her life’s greatest disappointment – the longing of loving friends (i.e. she's lonely). She continued to share how friend after friend had come into her life over the years and then left for many different reasons. Her testimony was filled with disappointments and betrayals by many who claimed to live in the love of Christ, but their actions were often far from loving. Now I am not saying in any way that this lady does not have her faults, as we all have them (Romans 3:23). Yet Colossians 3:13 declares, “Make allowance for each other’s faults…” That does not mean excuse them away nor does it mean to ignore them, but it means to show God’s grace just as He has shown His grace to you and me. Yet today, many are freely choosing NOT to demonstrate His grace toward others as His Word commands (Hebrews 12:15). Today, I believe more than ever we are seeing the prophetic words of Christ in reference to the “signs of the Last Days” cited in our text come to fruition in many ways, but especially in the area of love - “the love of many (“most” NIV)” is seemingly growing colder with the passage of time. So many today are so caught up in their own world – in their own reality – that they often are oblivious to that fact that they are allowing the enemy to isolate themselves from the very ones whom God has lovingly placed into their lives to love them and to be loved by them. I believe there are several contributing factors for the “love meter” to be spiritually waning today. First, I believe more folks are daily neglecting spiritual disciplines that are vital toward keeping our love fires stoked such as simple time spent with God, meditating on the Word, prayer, fellowship with others, ministry service, etc. Secondly, more folks are allowing the increasing frequency of life trials and tribulations to push them AWAY from God rather than TOWARD Him. When we go through something challenging (i.e. health issue, divorce, loss of job, mistreatment/betrayal by others, death of a loved one, financial challenges, etc.), we can either allow that difficulty to drive us to greater dependence on God or we can take up an offense toward God and move away. The former will lead to spiritual growth and increase our love for Christ and others, the latter will lead to stagnation and will snuff out the fire of our love like water poured onto a blazing campfire. Third, busyness in life is consuming more and more of His people. Here is what may well be the greatest area of vulnerability to Christians in America – getting so busy with life and demands that we simply neglect our relationship with God and others. Our relationship with God and others takes TIME together – we cannot grow closer in any relationship by proxy – that’s why He tells us not to forsake spending TIME with the family of God! (Hebrews 10:25) Fourth, the sins of the flesh and desire for pleasure are rampant today. So much of what people are focusing on today is pleasure and we spend a great deal of time, effort and money on what gives us pleasure. This can lead to a very self oriented life which will cause one’s heart to grow cold toward the Lord and others. Finally, more and more people are purposefully insulating themselves from the risk of hurt, pain and disappointments by others because of what may have happened in their past (i.e. they are allowing their past to govern their future). Many don’t want deep, close relationships primarily because that would demand two things of which many (dare I say ‘most’) care NOT to give: COMMITMENT and ACCOUNTABILITY! Thus, we are left to swim the sea of faith often alone … yet God has from the beginning of time designed into us a need for companionship … a need to be loved and to love others. Jesus tells us in John 15:12, “Love each other as I have loved you.” It is His love in you and through you that serves as the very foundation of your Christian witness as being a true disciple. John 13:35 declares, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples.” So when the love of many (‘most’) grows cold, know it has been preceded by love of the Lord growing cold through neglect and disobedience. Today, ask His Spirit to check out how hot or how cold your love truly is for Christ and for one another. He told us in 1 John 4:7, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” A watching world waits to see how REAL your love is for Christ by how REAL your love is for THEM! …Selah!
Today's Spirit-led video is by CCM artists MercyMe and can be viewed by clicking on the on the song title, "In the Blink of an Eye" - G3 for God's beautiful and spirit-filled gift of ministry thru Christian music!

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