Anyone who has heard me teach has definitely heard me say this phrase, “This is my favorite scripture.” Each time I say it, I hear a few chuckles from those who know me best. They chuckle, because I say this about a lot of scriptures. However, there are a few scriptures that I have not said this about. Here is one of them.
And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity. (Matthew 24:12, Amplified)
This scripture speaks of love growing cold. The Greek word translated love is the Greek word agape. Agape is the God-kind of love that only Christians have abiding in them. When it speaks of love growing cold, it speaks of the love of Christians growing cold.
I have studied this verse a lot in an effort to not be one whose love grows cold, in an effort to help others watch for the pitfalls that could lead to this. One phrase that I came across in my studies was “waning love”.
It’s not something that goes from hot to cold in an instant. It’s a gradual process. I think of a boiling pot or a hot stove. When you turn the heat off neither become instantly cold. They gradually cool down until what was once hot is now cold.
This verse not only tells us the problem, but also the cause, “because of multiplied lawlessness and iniquity”.
I was thinking about this verse just the other day while driving on a very busy freeway. Cars were passing me going way above the speed limit. Cars were cutting me off where it seemed I barely had time to avert an accident. I’ve been flipped off a few times for going the speed limit. Honked at for not letting the tailgater behind me go around me so he could tailgate the car less than twenty feet in front of me.
This is lawlessness. This is iniquity. In a minor form, but this is where little by little our love could grow cold, if we are not watchful.
[Love]… takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. (1 Corinthians 13:5, Amplified)
I had this thought as I drove that day. The people speeding and the people cutting me off and mistreating me, have a problem indeed, but if I take account of it, if I pay attention to these suffered wrongs, I too have a problem.
God told us there would be multiplied lawlessness and iniquity in these times. He also told us that this is the very atmosphere that can cause our love to grow cold. And not only out there on the highway, we most have to watch those little subtle things between us, that would cause our love to grow cold towards our fellow believer.
How do we keep our love from growing cold? Stay close to the source that started the flame in you to begin with. Yes, stay close to Him by reading His word, praying and spending time in His Presence. But also stay close to Him by forgiving, by taking no account of the evil done to you, by believing the best of one another. Yield to His love in your heart every chance you get and let those fires burn.
Amen! Casting Crowns sings a song called “Slow Fade” that perfectly spells out what you said. Our love loss is never instantaneous, it is subtle and slow so that we are not aware of what is being lost.