Curing Cold Love: Matthew 24:1-14

Focus Passage: Matthew 24:1-14 (NASB)

When reading Jesus’ life from the four gospels, I am often fascinated at the details that one writer includes that the others don’t include. Sometimes it is a detail that is changed, while in other cases, it is a new detail that the others simply didn’t share.

In Matthew’s version of this teaching, he shares a verse that is unique to his gospel message, and it stands out to me because I think it is relevant for our point in history: “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12)

Both Mark and Luke include all the surrounding verses in their teaching, but only Matthew gives us this one little detail – and it is a detail that I find fascinating.

First off, this is in a prophecy portion of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus is looking forward into a future time. It is possible the time He was pointing to has already happened, or it might be the time period we are in the middle of, or it could even be a time period that still is in the future time for us as well. However, what made this verse jump off the page was not wondering when this would happen. Instead, I was fascinated at the implications.

In this verse, we find two different (and supposedly unrelated) ideas: law and love. Jesus connects the two by saying that the lack of law in one’s life and/or in society will have an effect on one’s love.

This is opposite to the allure of “forbidden love” that we see throughout society and culture. We have the Romeos and the Juliets choosing each other over the social norms present and we conclude that true love can exist outside of the area of law when both partners consent and when no one gets hurt.

But Jesus, in this verse, pushes back. He says it is only through obedience that we can experience true love. What is it about obedience (the opposite of lawlessness) that might be so important?

When I ask myself the question, only one thing comes to mind: humility. In order to obey someone or some rule, one must humble himself/herself and view themselves as less than the person/idea they are obeying. In contrast, viewing oneself as being above the law is about as prideful of an attitude as one can get.

Pride, which means a focus on oneself, destroys relationships, and it is rampant in cultures where people think that laws are important – but only for other people. In places where people think that their common sense or situation warrants an exception to obedience, this is when a culture shifts from being lawful (or law-minded) and towards lawlessness. And when people have this attitude, their focus on self erodes their ability to truly love other like God loves others.

When our love grows cold, our hearts harden, and it makes it hard for anyone (including God) to reach in. It seems backwards to think about, but the only way to soften a hard heart is for the person holding that heart to choose to move towards God. By moving towards God, He can soften your hard heart, or give you a heart transplant.

Why do people choose to move towards God – especially when they are completely self-focused? It is only after they choose to realize and admit that their lives are empty of meaning and purpose. Stuff doesn’t bring lasting satisfaction. Disobedience can define someone’s life, but it is a shallow definition. When people think about their legacy, what their life is worth to others after they have died, then there is an opening for God to point them in a new direction – which in all cases is towards Him.

Disobedience hardens our hearts. When we choose to obey Jesus and move closer to Him, only then is He able to melt our hard hearts, which allow us to fully experience true God-like love for Him and others. God is able to write the most amazing legacy imaginable for our lives when we choose to follow Him.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

Subscribe to this blog and never miss an insight.