Fighting the Chill.
The last couple weeks, we’ve watched unprecedented winter weather debilitate Texas and surrounding states. Millions of people have suffered from a lack of power, water and heat, all because of the cold. I first want to acknowledge the hardship so many people have gone through and encourage you to pray for the many residents who have been suffering. However, I also want to draw a comparison between that situation and our Christian lives.
During Holy Week, Jesus explained to his disciples what they should expect between his ascension and second coming. Wars and rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes are the signs that we should expect his return any day. Yet the real hazard Jesus says to watch out for is danger to your Christian faith. He says, “See that no one leads you astray…. Many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:4, 11, 12).
Infrastructure in Texas wasn’t designed to handle extended cold. Michigan pipes and power plants are. The same cold can come to both states, but the outcome is drastically different.
In our spiritual lives, the cold air is like false teaching taught by false prophets. When we hear "false prophets,” we shouldn’t think of weirdos in ragged robes, telling us our crops will fail if we don’t sacrifice a pig to the moon. The spiritual leaders Jesus is warning us about have much more power because they’re very skilled at drawing us in and leading people astray from the truth about God. They will be very convincing. They will speak to our felt needs. The danger is their teaching won’t align with Scripture, God’s Word, as much as they will insist it does and try to use it to defend their ideas.
When we look at the world’s problems, our attention often goes first to the bad behaviors we see, the “lawlessness” and cold love. Think about people just in your life whose love has grown cold. Think about times when your love was pretty chilly. It’s not too hard, is it? But loveless lives and lawlessness are like the downed power plants and burst pipes. The bounds of morality, compassion, respect for authority, and love burst open and freeze when Christians aren’t prepared to ward off the cold of false teaching. When those behaviors show up in our lives, we’re seeing evidence of the cold attacking our faith. Where can we warm up? Where can we find the truth that will keep us alive? The only person who showed perfect love, to God and other people, is Jesus himself. His perfect life was lived for us and his death paid for our frozen love. The crucified and risen Christ warms our lives with the robe of his righteousness put around us. If you want to live, and live well, cozy up to the Bible, to Jesus. Insulate your faith with God’s warm forgiveness and grace.