Hatred. Shootings. Fires. Political strife. Rumors of war.
Why is the world suddenly teeming with terror? Why is it that every time we turn on the news, something horrible is happening.
We are living in the end times. The end times described in Revelation.
As Timothy 3:1-4 says,
"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God."
The culture depicts this image more and more every day. You can see a glimpse of this through the catastrophes around the world and the politically correct lies on social media. People are becoming continually more immoral. The lines between right and wrong are blurring. And you know what that means - it is easier for the Church to get swept in little by little.
These are frightening times...at least for those who fear death.
However, for the Christian, these are not times to be fearful or depressed, but to be rooted and steadfast in our faith. Each event that takes place means that we're a little bit closer to the rapture, when the believers who are still in the world will ascend to be with Christ. However, on this earth, things will get much worse. We will not be present, but our co-workers and loved ones may. This is not the time for the Church to become complacent, but to cling to Christ more than ever.
In light of all this, how should we live? What should we do to prepare?
1. Grow in our faith
As in any other time in history, we are to build our foundation on Christ alone. We are to love God with all our heart, surrender all to Him daily, and follow the Spirit's leading. It will become harder and harder to sustain our spiritual lives, and many may simply give up the fight. It is in these last days that we should prepare for spiritual warfare, filling our minds with scripture and digging deep in the world. If Jesus is your #1 priority, everything else will fall into place. It is in the times of blurred moral standards that we must solidify our beliefs and values.
“Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.” - Charles Spurgeon
Wrong disguises itself as right, like a wolf in sheep's clothing. We must constantly remember that we are seeking after Christ, not happiness.
2. Memorize Scripture
Yes, you can. Why? Well, how many songs do you know?
Despite what many think, it is vital to hide God's Word in our hearts. The day may come when Bibles are banned. What will hold the Church together in these times? With all the other voices around us, will we still hear God's the most?
3. Unite as a church
In these times, one minor disagreement can spark an explosion of hatred and division. But the church is not just another social group. It is the Kingdom of God. We cannot allow a small quarrel to ignite a full-fledged outrage.We are called to be peacemakers, unified as one Body. How can we nurture one another if we are tearing each other apart? If we are to be the light of the world, that includes showing ourselves to be different from the world. Our love is our witness (John 13:35). Our witness can be that while the world is blowing up over a mild disagreement, the church is uniting in love.
The question is, are we seeking to be heard, or are we seeking for Christ to be heard?
4. Share the Gospel
Sharing Christ with others should not be a feared duty, but a delight. And, as with all the other points: If we are not faithful now, how will we be faithful when it becomes even more difficult?
Witnessing will certainly not be any easier. Currently in the United States, most of the persecution is verbal and social. However, in some places it is physical - and even fatal. Are we willing to risk our lives for the Gospel? How about just our convenience and comfort?
Soon, there will be no time left to step out of your comfort zone just a little bit.
5. Show God's love through our actions
We see all kinds of natural disasters, abuse, and sickness. Surprisingly, it is often the non-Christians who are reaching out to help those in need.
God calls us to reach out for the needy, widows and orphans. However, He doesn't call us to do it to be seen. He calls us to do it so that Christ can be seen through us.
6. Raise godly children
If you're a parent, then teaching your children God's Word is crucial. If the Lord delays His coming, your children are the next generation of leaders, teachers, and citizens. It is critical for them to be grounded in the Word if their faith is to survive the harsh conditions of this world.
- Pray for their salvation.
- Pray for them to be lights in this dark world.
- Pray for them to stand firm in their faith, loving to do God's Will.