Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. (Matthew 24:11-12)
Just because we know God and experience and share His love doesn’t assume we always will. Love can grow cold. If we’re not in a thriving, growing relationship with God, if we don’t make it a priority, we’ll slowly but certainly slip away, letting the world influence us and convince us that its way is better than God’s way, that His way isn’t really truth, that His priorities are irrelevant. You name it, the world whispers and shouts it to distract your focus of faith.
I’ve seen it happen over and over again. It can happen when young adults move to college where they don’t find a community of believers who challenge their thoughts as they change. Change isn’t bad in and of itself, and questions certainly aren’t bad. God welcomes them. But young adults seeking independence soon find themselves in groups of friends upon which they’re dependent. Oh, they rarely see it as such. They just think they’re experiencing freedoms they have a right to experience. And they get confirmation from their peers because they’ve chosen to hang out with people who are moving in a direction that excites or intrigues them. Together, they help each other push the limits of what they’ve experienced and try new things that had been frowned upon in the past.
It’s not just young adults. Ignoring the importance of a vibrant love relationship with God happens at every age, including older adults. And it doesn’t just happen to those who reject the church. Many stay in the church and go through the motions, but they stop maturing as Christians. Their love equally grows cold.
These older adults are often called Senior Saints. Some have earned that title. Some have not, but because of their age and experience, they claim it. I’ve watched some people I respected behave in ways I would never have predicted. Because of the respect they had at one time, people continue to follow them, assuming everything they say and do is still biblical, yet it only takes a short step back to see a spiritual cancer consuming them and the immediate circle of friends and community they impact. Times of conflict and change often reveal these shifts in spiritual maturity the most. I’ve seen people I respected behave in ways that are painful to watch. I know they’re hurting, and I want to help, but because of the influence they have established through the years, they often hurt a lot more people before realizing the blind spots in their lives.
Their love has become cold.
For all of us, times of conflict and change are opportunities for us to deepen our commitment to and love for God or to lose focus and let our love grow cold. With every opportunity, we can stagnate or grow. I want to choose to grow closer to God. I want to discern who God created me to be and how He wants me to respond—with grace, mercy, and compassion—because I do not want my love to grow cold.
Dear God, I am so sorry for the times in my life when I haven’t focused on You, and I’ve failed to grow as I know You desire me to grow. I want to recommit to You, placing my full trust in You. I’m going to have some questions along the way. I’ll grow weary, because I know You will work on me—in both the big things and the little things. I commit to You through the transformation process. I yield to You. Please bring people into my life who will encourage me in Your ways, not just the ways that will be affirming. I want people in my life who honor You, including holding me accountable to do the same.