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I know we said, “’Till death do us part.’ But, I just don’t love him anymore.”
Those are painful words, spoken in a marriage counseling session. How can that be?
How is it possible for a man and a woman, deeply in love and passionately committed to one another at one time, to stop loving? How is it possible for a child raised in a Christian home to stop loving their parents?
The Apostle Paul wrote in “the love chapter” the amazing words, “Love never fails.” Yet, we know love does fail. Did the Scripture lie or did someone make a mistake?
Jesus gives us clarity in Matthew 24:12. “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (KJV).
This is a difficult verse, at best. Let’s try to un-package it.
“Iniquity” (anomia) is disrespect for the law or someone who chooses to live above the law. It is living without law; wickedness.
“Wax cold” (psugeesetai from psuchoo) means breath cool; blowing cool air; or the loss of temperature. A culture or an individual who chooses to live lawless will experience the cooling of natural love in their heart; even to the point of rigor mortis.
How does Jesus’ explanation help us understand the failure of love in a marriage; between a child and their parent; or between a child of God and the Lord?
A heart of iniquity is self-focused and full of envy. They ask, “What do I need? What am I missing? What do others have that I don’t have? What am I missing out on? What should I be experiencing that I am not experiencing?
Their thoughts are focused on what their mate is not doing.
The believer’s heart is fixed on what God has not done for them or on prayers God has not answered.
The child is offended by the parent’s failure.
The words of a self-focused person are filled with, “You never…” and “You did this to me.”
The result of such focus is loss of joy and a lack of desire to serve. Those things that used to bring joy become irritating or frustrating. Little tasks that were a delight or pleasant to do because they brought pleasure to the other person are now resented. Feelings of expectation rise up and they begin thinking, “It is not fair. They shouldn’t expect that of me.”
Control of the imagination is compromised.
Thoughts of what it would be like with another person creep into the mind throughout the day. Eyes begin to wander; looking at other men or women and fantasizing being with them. Memories of old times and the fun experienced begin wandering through. Feelings of missing those times flood in. Slowly the attachment and attraction to your mate weakens.
The joy of being a Christian weakens. Pleasure in movies with compromising scenes and the soft pornography of pop culture becomes attractive.
The imagination is awakened even more.
Fantasizing about another person becomes greater.
Now you are becoming emotionally attached to another person. They may not even know you are having such thoughts. Transference is happening. Emotions that rightfully belong to your marriage partner; your parents; your Lord and Savior are given to another.
Opportunity to speak with that person is sought. Conversations are extended; greetings are expressed friendlier; handshakes become friendly hugs. Emotional attachment becomes stronger and the imagination fired up even more. Love for your mate is weakened; emotional estrangement is becoming obvious.
Spiritually, less time is spent in prayer and Bible reading is overlooked. Church attendance is not as attractive.
The emotional estrangement leads to wrong behavior. Friendly hugs become more intimate and lingering. Words of endearment enter the greeting. Suddenly, one or the other cross the forbidden line and express the hidden affection and emotional adultery is entered into. This will eventually lead to physical adultery.
Jesus sternly warns the believer about allowing their love for the Lord to become “lukewarm”. Such a believer will be deceived; thinking their walk with the Lord is still good and yet they are lost.
The Apostle Paul wrote to his spiritual son, Timothy, “The fulfillment of the commandment is love, out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith that is not hypocritical.”
The child of God must carefully guard their moral purity and discipline their imagination. Love will not grow cold in the heart of one that diligently maintains a spirit of mercy; that extends grace to their mate; and gives forgiveness even when it is not deserved. Authentic trust is crucial to maintaining a heart of love.
When trust is breached, even secretly in your thoughts or emotions, it gives opportunity for the enemy to “breathe cool” on your heart of love.
Jesus modeled unfailing love. His words are anchors for our soul.
“A new commandment I give unto you. That you love one another as I have loved you.”
4 Characteristics of God’s Love
1. God’s love is everlasting to everlasting
“But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children.” Psalm 103:17
2. God’s love has many facets
“Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to Your mercy remember me, for Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.” Psalm 25:6-7 Emphasis mine
“I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies, according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses.” Isaiah 63:7 Emphasis mine
3. God’s love has expression
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
4. God’s love is sacrificial
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:13-14
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Discovering True Identity: A Believer’s Position in Christ (Freedom Series) (Volume 1)Agape: Unveiling the Mask of Darkness, Setting the Captives Free (Freedom Series) (Volume 2)Charis: The Power of Grace (The Freedom Series) (Volume 3)
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