Don’t Get Bitten!

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,” –Matthew 24:12 (NIV)

Frostbite is not a pleasant thing to have. It occurs when one has had prolonged exposure to subzero temperatures without adequate protection. As a result of this exposure to the cold, the blood vessels in the body begin to constrict; preventing the heart from pumping blood to the exposed areas. If not treated in time the affected areas can develop gangrene or even fall off as the skin tissue deteriorates. Frostbite has claimed the fingers, toes, and even limbs of soldiers fighting in freezing temperatures, scientists working in the frigid polar regions of the globe, and ordinary people who simply did not prepare for the cold. That is why we dress warmly before going out into winter’s chill; so that we are protected from the consequences of frostbite.

Sin is like frostbite to our souls. It slowly creeps into our being and in the process causes love to be cut off from our lives. While it may seem tantalizing at first, Satan uses sin to deceive us into thinking that bringing glory and pleasure to ourselves is the highest good. However, while we are being deceived, our wickedness will enslave us to destructive habits which will only bring pain and misery to ourselves and to others. Just as how frostbite causes limbs to fall off, sin will make sure that love is absent from our hearts as it directs us to the worship of ourselves. But as we see ourselves crumbling piece by piece through sin’s vicious work, we wonder if there is any way we can regain what was lost. Yet the great assurance is that there is healing and restoration through Christ. When we have allowed Him to enter our hearts and carry out His redemptive work in our lives, He will purge evil from our lives and clothe us in His righteousness. Through His death His blood has washed of our sin and through His resurrection we are given a new nature marked by His love. By being clothed with His Spirit and keeping in step with Him, sin will not gain a foothold and will thereby allow His love to shine brightly for all to see.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

A Crazy Love

“So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well.” 2 Corinthians 12:15a (NIV)

Most people would have looked at Paul’s dedication to the Corinthian church and thought he had lost his mind. Corinth was a city mired in sexual perversions of all stripes and it earned a reputation amongst Christians and non-Christians alike as a place where deviancy thrived. Sadly, even the church of Corinth found itself entangled in the sinful and destructive pleasures of their city. Yet Paul wrote to them saying that he was willing to spend everything on them, both his resources and himself if need be. We might ask why did Paul waste his time and what little wealth he had on these depraved people. But Paul was driven by the love of God which seeks to bring restoration and life through Christ to even the vilest of sinners no matter the cost.

All of us have people in our lives we would prefer to ignore. They are like the Corinthians to us; unlovable in their unwholesome attitudes and degenerate lifestyles. Contempt, perhaps even hatred, fills our hearts whenever they come to our minds and we do not want to have anything to do with them. But if such attitudes are entrenched in our hearts, the love of God is absent from us and we are not contributing to the solution. Being resentful and scornful towards them will not help them along the path to healing. Only the love of Christ can bring hope and renewal to the lives of others. When we have allowed Christ’s Spirit to enter our hearts and transform us by His love, we will want to invest everything we have into those we have deemed unlovable. While we were covered by sin and therefore repulsive in the eyes of a holy God, in His love He reached down to us so that by His blood we are washed clean of our sins and have new life through His resurrection. Compelled by the same love through Christ’s enabling, we will sacrifice all that we have for others knowing that our Saviour did the same for us.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

True Love Confronts

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” –Ephesians 4:15 (NIV)

We do not like confrontation. It is messy, uncomfortable, and often creates conflicts that we would rather avoid. When faced with the destructive lifestyle or erroneous thoughts of a loved one, we may know deep down that something is amiss and want to speak up. Yet we refrain from doing so out of fear that we will create unnecessary tension and end up hurting the other person. We try to justify our silence by saying that it is an act of love; that refusing to say anything about the behaviour of the person we love is proof of our concern and sympathy for them. However, in truth it is the exact opposite. It is not an act of love to remain silent for we will simply be letting them go down a road that will bring them pain and misery.

True love will warn someone when they are going in a direction that will end with regret and despair. Such love goes beyond a simple concern for the other person’s feelings, and finds itself caring for their well-being. When driven by such love we will not cease to speak the truth to our loved ones, even if they ignore our words and find us annoying, because we do not want them to go down that path to total oblivion. However, if we try to do this on our own we will find ourselves lacking the courage to speak boldly and the wisdom to use our words well. It is only when we are enabled by Christ’s Spirit that we will find the wisdom and courage to act in love. When we have allowed Him to enter our hearts and seek with humility to abide by His Spirit, we will be careful to walk according to His leading. Guided by Him we will find that He will give us the strength and tact to boldly speak the truth in love so that those who hear may find life abundant.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.