Listen to this devotional:
Matthew 24:12 – Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. (NIV)
There's a song that our band, Glenfinnan, sings called "The Water is Wide". It's all about unrequited love, and in one of the verses, the singer woefully expresses the tragedy of being unloved with the words, "But love grows old, and waxes cold, and fades away, like the morning dew."
As a pastor for nearly twenty years, one of the saddest things that I have seen is that love grows cold in some people. It sometimes happens in marriages, when people grow apart from one another, and the love that they once shared turns into loathing. It sometimes happens to church people, whose fire for God goes out because of worldly cares and domestic pressures. Their love for God diminishes and so does their passion for the church.
The root of this coldness is, according to the Bible, wickedness. We might not see it that way, but if we were to apply the word "wicked" to sins of pride, bitterness, greed, laziness, and indifference, we could make the connection.
Faith, like marriage, requires a lot of work, focus, and commitment. If our faith and marriages are built only upon good times and good things, then when trouble or adversity, confrontation or insecurity arrive on our doorstep, we will be ill-prepared to handle them. Then people fall away; marriages dissolve; relationships end — with God, with other people, even with our partners and churches.
We all have to be careful about our commitments, whether they involve our faith, friendships, or family. If we allow wickedness — pride, bitterness, greed, laziness, and indifference — to enter into our spirits, minds, and souls, then we will lose our love, and our hearts will grow cold. We need to remember that Christ adds a warning to this gospel truth: "He who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Matthew 24:13 NIV) In other words, we don't get any prizes or rewards for a half-completed faith, nor a half-fulfilled life. We have to remain faithful to the end, otherwise we will never see God or know of His everlasting kingdom.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, when we are tempted to neglect our faith, confront us. When we are most apt to set aside our commitment to You, challenge us. Mend our broken ways, heal our weakened partnerships, and warm our hearts with a rekindled faith. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.