KEY THOT: This is not the time to slacken but to awake from our spiritual slumber for the “day is at hand.” We don’t know the hour or day that Jesus would return, but we know that some of the signs of his coming are already present: “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). Paul warns believers to “wake from sleep” (Rom. 13:11). But what can cause the love of many Christians to grow cold? Jesus points to “lawlessness” (disregard for laws of God). Paul points to the gratification of our sinful desires: “orgies and drunkenness” (physical appetites), “sexual immorality and sensuality” (inappropriate sexual relationships), “quarreling and jealousy” (communication breakdown with closest relationships).
So, he exhorts believers to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” In other words, make Jesus Christ our constant spiritual and moral Guide through prayer. Prayer will buttress us against straying into ungodly desires and relationships by bringing Jesus into our activities and relationships: "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41).
Growing cold and backsliding doesn’t happen overnight. It begins first with a disregard for God’s law (lawlessness) and then it slips into gratification of our carnal desires. It eventually leads to sexual immorality and sensuality (lust, adulterous relationships and immoral sexual activities). It also produces quarreling and jealousy in our closest relationships. When we feel we are growing cold, we should not blame others or “the church” but rather honestly examine our hearts to see if we have allowed sinful attitudes and activities to creep into our lives. If we know of such attitudes and activities, then it’s time to “wake from sleep” before our heart grows cold and we become indifferent to God.
Paul exhorts us to “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” The best “armor” we have is walking in the light with other brothers and sisters in Christ—to be in an accountability relationships with those who are able to lovingly point out unhealthy relationships and activities we are engaged in. The “armor of light” is the willingness to be exposed by others so we will not be sunk by our deeds of darkness. Someone has defined character as "who we are when no one is watching."
Father God, search our heart and deliver us from self-deception and self-gratification, that our love for You will never grow cold. Amen.