Remember last week when it got COLD? I mean cold for Southeast Louisiana… That’s regular September weather for most of the country, but for us – it might as well have been the thick of Winter! Folks were wearing parkas and winter coats, turning their heaters on for the first time in nine months. At my house we just opened up the windows and made some hot chocolate. When the kids were cold I told them to put on a sweatshirt, like any good father trying to save money on the energy bill.
As much as I love sweater weather, actually being cold is kind of miserable. It’s like your hands and feet don’t work right – every muscle gets a little more tense. And it is hard to get anything done while wrapped up in a weighted blanket. But even worse than being physically cold is when our hearts grow cold.
Sometimes it happens because of hurt.
Sometimes it happens because of sin.
Sometimes it happens because we are lonely or are just trying to protect ourselves.
When we let our hearts grow cold and uncaring, we cease being like Jesus.
Harsh? Yes – like a Winter windchill. The truth is a cold heart can’t live the life Jesus says we are to live.
“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 NLT
Love is at the center of how Jesus says we can please God. We LOVE Him. And we LOVE ourselves. And we LOVE others. A cold heart doesn’t engage love. That’s not to say we have to go out and hug every stranger and sing “Kumbaya” when the world is in dire straits and life is full of pain. Love doesn’t always look like a sunny disposition and a plate of brownies. Jesus proved on the cross that love is costly and sometimes painful. When we grow cold to God, ourselves and others – and no longer actively love – no matter the reasons or circumstances – we have to repent.
I’m pretty quick to throw myself a pity party. I can find a lot of excuses to disengage from others because I am an introvert by nature – and selfish by sin-nature. Thankfully I have a wonderful family and friends (at LifeSongs) that daily remind me to Love – and not live in the cold.
Who in your life encourages you to shrug off the cold and engage the world with Love? Thank God for them. And remember that plate of brownies thing from earlier? That might be a great way to show them some Love when they struggle too.