by Lori Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld
And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. Matthew 24:12 ESV
If you’re looking to the Bible for morality stories, it will leave you frustrated.
Oh, it’s loaded with stories and occasionally there’s a person in that story making a right choice, but three stories later, that same person may be choosing the wrong way. In fact, in many biblical stories, everyone is wrong.
That’s because the Bible is a book of truth, not fables written to teach children to stay out of the woods.
God’s not into heroes. Our faith isn’t built on the notion that there’s a group of us capable of living properly if we just have the right role models, education, and information. It’s not designed to promote a fear-based morality, or a moral-of-the-story method of soul-control.
The Bible is a mirror into the human soul, designed to reveal the truth of our glorious design, the truth of our fallen nature, and the truth of God’s loving, redemptive plan. It’s frustrating if you’re hoping for a “nice read.” There are down-right ugly stories told within its pages.
Which makes it the perfect book for our times.
We live in the age of suppression. The times when lawlessness is so rampant, we’re tempted to let our love grow cold.
Romans 1 explains that when people choose to live exactly the way they feel like living, regardless of how that lines up with the plan of their Creator, their actions suppress truth. When truth is suppressed, deception seeps in over the transom like a toxic gas. Lies create a climate hostile to love. And love cannot be divorced from truth or it has no spine. Hence, the danger of our times.
The gospel of Jesus Christ, which is that among humans, there is no one righteous, no, not one, and the only way of salvation is through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. It is life for all who believe it.
The gospel doesn’t make us heroes or good guys or moral kings—it makes us recipients of grace, living by faith in Jesus, until He returns. Our salvation doesn’t rely on right living but on the person of Jesus, and only Jesus.
Which brings me to love in the age of suppression.
Jesus continues to call His followers to love, even when truth is suppressed, and deception is the visible king. How can we be expected to rise to this calling? Isn’t it impossible to love when everyone is doing whatever they want?
It is. Without Jesus, that is. Don’t try it without Him. That’s like wandering onto a battlefield without armor.
If we attempt to love with our own resources, they’ll deplete in a heartbeat. We’ll wind up dead on the doorstep of false religion, cut into pieces, a signal to other fools that they should send their own hearts into a deep freeze.
Instead, we must follow the way of Jesus. Lay our lives at the cross. Immerse ourselves in His story—His truth. Through His power, empty our minds of hatred and fear. Open our hearts to His Holy Spirit who will love others through us with a love that can withstand the times.
There’s nothing easy about loving in the age of suppression. Wounds are a near certainty, but we can resist growing cold because we were designed and equipped for such a time as this.
In times of immorality and deception, truth must marry love and give birth to life. That’s Jesus. Even when other hearts grow cold, He will warm ours with His own blood, poured out for us, and we’ll find courage to love even against the icy, prevailing wind of the age.
About the author: Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored four encouraging, unsettling books. Her latest release is The Art of Hard Conversations: Biblical Tools for the Tough Talks that Matter. She speaks her mind at www.loriroeleveld.com.
Join the conversation: Have you been wounded while trying to love?