Winter in Texas (Part 2)

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:12-14 ESV).

I’m always amazed how many cars end up forgotten rusting away in a field. It is somewhat illustrative of what happens to us if we don’t keep spiritually warm. Jesus’ words in our reading today help us to remember that cold is a sure and often silent killer of the spirit. The spiritual temperature of our world is dangerously low and if we are not careful, our love, like many, will grow cold (v. 12). And the thing about such cold is that it damages us before we realize it. The effects of frostbite are typically not felt when it’s happening. Only later do we realize the seriousness of our injury. Every year people lose digits and limbs to the cold. And some freeze to death. Cold is a stealthy killer, for a heavy drowsiness descends on its victims and they lose consciousness, drifting off to death. No one intended these trucks to fall into such disrepair. They were simply forgotten with a hope of taking care of them “later.”

The key to surviving the spiritual polar climate we live in is fire. We’ve got to stay warm. If we don’t, it can result in injury or even death. And it takes a lot of work to stay warm. You don’t just wing it in the winter. You’ve got to dress for the weather and keep your fire burning, which requires preparation and maintenance. The fire is your faith-filled love for, your desire for, your delight in God. And this fire is fed with the Holy Spirit stoking it through the word and prayer.

But I don’t mean a passive Bible reading and cool praying. Simply passing your eyes over words of Scripture won’t keep your fire going, and neither will minimal, distracted, disengaged praying. Making firewood is hard work, but its reward is a warm, abundant life. The alternative is the damaging numbness of the cold. The fire needs to always be on our minds, no matter what else we are doing. If we don’t fuel the fire, it will go out. If the fire goes out, the temperature in our souls drops quickly and it takes a lot more work to reheat them than to keep them warm in the first place.

Spiritual cold is a stealthy killer. It lulls people to sleep and they lose consciousness not realizing their peril. That’s why our lives must revolve around tending the fire, because the fire is the key to surviving the cold. And the fire should be the first thing we tend in the morning and the last we tend at night. How’s your fire?