‘Snowball Earth’ is a hypothesis that in the distant past, our planet’s surface was once covered by glacial ice from pole to pole. The merits of this hypothesis are of course debatable but what is interesting is the proposed mechanism that caused this phenomenon. Apparently, sometime in the past, there was a reduction in greenhouse gases (e.g. carbon dioxide). This chilled the global climate, resulting in the creation of large areas of ice and snow. Ice and snow reflect more solar radiation than unfrozen ground or water. This increased reflection further lowered global temperatures, creating more ice and snow, leading to a vicious cycle of coldness until the entire planet was frozen.
Regrettably, our hearts, like Snowball Earth, can quickly regress from hot to cold. In Matthew 24, Jesus talks about the end times, and mentions how people will turn away from the faith. In particular, what struck me were verses 12-13 which reads, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” What if my love does not grow cold, perhaps just lukewarm? Reading Revelation 3:16 gives scant comfort.
What precipitates this spiritual condition of coldness? A couple of reasons come to mind. Sin is one reason. It may start off with something small but as one gets drawn deeper into sinful acts, we begin to hide ourselves from God in guilt and shame.
This starts a vicious cycle leading from lukewarm to utter cold as we find ourselves helplessly mired in sin and unable or unwilling to return to God. A second possibility is our busyness. This is something we in Singapore are susceptible to. We are always running from place to place, filling our time with activities and tasks. As a result, our relationship with God suffers because of lack of time. The less effort we put into this relationship, the further we feel we are from Him, again leading to a vicious cycle of coldness.
Breaking the vicious cycle is an important step to restoration of our relationship with God. Some suggestions – First, recognize when we are living in sin and confess and repent of these sins as they occur (1 John 1:9). Allowing our sins to fester only hastens our withdrawal from God. Second, spending quality time with God is important. All relationships require time and effort. With God, examples of quality time include prayer, meditation, immersing yourself in His Word, and reading biblically-sound articles. Third, fellowship with believers, in particular those who are fervent. By doing so, their ‘heat’ gets transferred to us as we interact with them, learn from them, and get inspired by them (Hebrews 10:24-25). Next, make yourself available in service to Him. Through service, Jesus’ love is expressed through us, and not only do we bless others, we receive blessings in return. Here, I am reminded of James 2:14-26. Finally, seek help if you need to. When our spiritual condition is in a state in which we find ourselves unable to handle, speak to a trusted brother or sister in Christ or a church leader.
In our discipleship journey, our heart may grow cold, and our love may wane. It is important that we ensure this condition is corrected as soon as we recognize it. And thanks be to God, we can be reassured by James 4:8 of His help, “Come near to God and He will come near to you.”
– by Dion Goh, YCKC bulletin 9&10 March 2013