It is the nature of love to burn – for mankind, for God, for our loved ones. It’s a natural familial love that mingles with an other-worldly, divine love.
That’s why this verse is so intriguing, especially right now:
And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will wax cold. Matthew 24:12
The verb “wax” means originally to breathe or blow; and the picture is that of spiritual energy blighted or chilled by a poisonous wind.
What is lawlessness? It’s talking about deception and lack of love.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another …
and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will wax cold.
I have seen a lot of unloving interactions with Christians over the last few months. Not pagans, not atheists, not the agnostic, not the “sinful.” Christians. And more specifically, evangelicals. And I see it happening everywhere. As a result, love for God is waxing cold – and causing a mass apostasy. I have seen name-calling, anger, slander, pride, arrogance and willful ignorance. And it’s tainting the message of the Gospel.
Not too long ago, I would have considered apostasy a result of increased moral ambiguity…progressivism as some would call it. Now it seems that people are walking away from the faith in droves because the Gospel we espouse has been rendered meaningless while we pursue being right more than being loving. When we pursue the American dream rather than laying our comforts down and serving the least of these. We love power more than people. Especially the kind of people that we disagree with.
We have aligned our purpose as Christians with Partisanship and political affiliation to maintain some sort of power. Political power was never on Jesus’ agenda. Using the government to make people follow rules that align with religion is precisely what the Pharisees were doing. Government is good, but it’s never been a great solution to a lot of human problems. We cannot outsource the job of loving our neighbor.
Love God, love neighbor, love your enemies. That is what constitutes the life of a believer. If we remove even one of these, it’s an incomplete faith.
The non-believing world has a biblical right to say that we are not Christians that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God if they cannot see an observable oneness among his followers.-Francis Schafer
What we need to set aside right now is our politics – Capitalism, greed, pride, Nationalism.
Political partisanship is keeping believers focused on policies instead of making disciples. Political partisanship is perverting the Christian witness.
If it weren’t for the ragamuffins and the outcasts on the outskirts of evangelicalism, I wouldn’t have a home. I would consider myself an evangelical apostate at this point in life. I’m tired of a weak brand of Christianity that veils the true power of following Christ.
Many people, young people in particular, are leaving the church. But they aren’t rejecting Jesus. They are rejecting a version of American nationalism that is camouflaging itself as Christianity…but it doesn’t look like Jesus. For many people, rejecting Trump-evangelicalism is not the end of your faith — it is the beginning of a more authentic, Christ-centered faith. After all, the word Christian means Christ-like. And much of what is parading itself out in the open is not Christ-like at all.-Shane Claiborne
We have forgotten what it means to follow Christ: we have been most outspoken on things Christ spoke nothing about. We have been silent on things Christ talked alot about. How did this happen?
There is an indifference to things that matter right here and NOW:
Protecting life – We belittle, criticize, and reject mask-wearing during a global pandemic.
Working for justice and equity – We ignore the cries of the hurting and the oppressed and refuse to see where the system is broken for so many people
Caring for the environment – we want to continue our harmful patterns of consumerism, waste, and the pursuit of prosperity, comforts and privilege over caring for our environment.
Discernment – We embrace fringe conspiracy theories and slander people we know nothing about, trading truth for a lie
Compare that to the fiery disputes about things of lesser importance:
Maintaining our safety and security (preserving our life)
Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39
Reducing morality to one issue (abortion)
You have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘Do not murder’ and ‘Anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Matthew 5:21
Maintaining our rights and avoiding anything that looks like persecution
Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 5:10
We have elected and support a man of lawlessness to conserve our rights and our faith. We may get the prosperity that we desire, the comforts and the safety that we crave. We may get that…but at what cost? The witness of Christ lies on the periphery. Away from partisan alignment, away from positions of maintaining power, away from the burdens of religion. He is at the table with the most broken of us.
The ragamuffins, the sinners, the lost people that He came for.
Following Jesus is about a rich, multidimensional message about connection and reconciliation- to God, to man, and to our world.
It’s about abundant life and human flourishing now, it’s about building a framework of life on earth as it is in heaven.
The world is watching.
Whether the Gospel is indeed the Good News for all people…or just a select few.
Whether we are committed to human flourishing for all life…or just the unborn.
Whether we are all about love, or just judging people.
In Acts 1, the disciples asked Jesus if he would restore the nation of Israel – Jesus’ response: “It’s not for you to know…go be my witnesses.”
I am not angry at the Church – I grieve and feel compassion. And it’s not too late to change course and allow the Words of Jesus to take precedence. Humility, meekness, gentleness, and a staggering amount of mercy.
This is My command, that you love one another as I have loved you.John 15:12
Worldliness and a self-seeking, timid faith is more of a threat to American Christianity than any churches shutting down. As we Make America Great, and fight for our dependencies and comforts, it loosens our dependance on God. It also breeds a climate of internal dissension that destroys brotherly love that should be our No. 1 identifying characteristic. This lack of energetic love warns the Church of Laodicea (Revelation 3:16), “Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
In closing, it is not my intention to tell you who to vote for. That is not the point of this article. The point is we need to re-focus on the Words of Jesus. To loosen our grip and our hope in partisan politics. To close the divide, like Jesus did, and find ways to draw people, not to a side, but to a truly higher Kingdom. A place of Kingdom fruit, of Kingdom belonging, and Kingdom mission. To restore our unity and faith in each other, to love like Jesus loved, and that includes ALL people.
In the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers…unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.2 Timothy 3:1-5