There certainly are a lot of frightening things going on in the world these days. Earthquakes that destroy nations, devastating floods that swallow whole communities, changing weather patterns, the largest hurricane ever, toppling governments, terrorism, global financial crisis, a changing global face, fear of global pandemics. Looking at each thing individually we can change and adapt, accepting it at face value, but when we stand back and take in the big picture it starts to become overwhelming. On top of these global disasters there is the shifting values in society, the hearts that are changing. Less marriage, more living together, fewer children, the acceptance of homosexuality, the challenges of polygamy, laws allowing children to reject their parents at age 14, limiting parental authority, more questionable curriculum in the school, the complete rejection of the gospel of Jesus. This list could go on for a while, but we get the picture. Things are getting bad just like Jesus said they would.
We have a choice. We can stick our heads in the sand and say that it is just life making its correction to the constant changing mood of society or we can start to see the signs Jesus told us to be looking for. He told his disciples:
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." (Matthew 24:32-35)
When the word "generation" is used it is understood to mean race. Our race will not pass away until all the signs have been given. We need to pay attention to what is going on around us because the enemy will use this time to try to separate as many of us from Jesus as possible. He will use deception through false prophets and leaders. He will try to get us to leave the solid teaching of the Bible to follow after an easier path. He will have people rise up to try to convince us that the Bible is full of errors and that we are wasting our life pursuing a God that does not exist:
At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. (Matthew 24:23-25)
Some people are afraid of what may happen to them in the many disasters that are to come. Some are afraid of what may happen to their bodies and those of their family. Some are afraid of jail, torture and even death. My fear is for the hearts of the people. My fear is that people will fail the testing of their faith because they did not allow the roots to go down deep. I am afraid that because of the growing wickedness of this world people will allow the most important thing, the greatest priority to grow cold:
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:12-13)
That should be more frightening to us then any hurricanes, droughts, floods, diseases, or anything else that may cause your pulse to quicken. The thought of my love for Jesus growing cold is the worse thought I could have. Yet, the enemy will set upon us, attacking our faith, placing doubts in our thoughts, trying to convince us that we are not even forgiven. He will try to send us into depression, attacking us with our past, opening the door to doubt the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. He will use the same tactic as he used with Eve because it works for him, against those who are weak in their faith: "Did God really say ...".
The greatest faith we have is not that God will provide for us but that God has forgiven us. If we doubt his forgiveness then we will not have faith for anything else. We will always be polite with God but we will never really trust him. We will never be able to accept his love because we do not think it possible that he could forgive such a wicked person. The enemy will continue to label us according to our past so that we are unable to function in God's grace and love for the present and the future. Perhaps we think that the forgiveness is real but God could never forget and will somehow exact his revenge on us at some point. To me, this is more frightening than a hurricane because without faith we are lost. Our love will grow cold and we will be deceived.
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
It is the storms aimed at our hearts that we must be on guard against because we must stand firm to the end. Going part way will not count. We have to take a deep breath, close our eyes and throw ourselves forward. We need to read, study and understand the full armour of God. We must apply it to us every day. We need to seek Jesus every day with a passion that refuses to quit. We need to be solid in the Word, a people of prayer, and sold out worshipers of Jesus Christ. We must train our ear to the voice of the Shepherd and obey despite our opinions on matters. We need to fan the flame of our faith so that we are seen as a passionate people for God and the lost. In the days ahead we cannot afford to fall into an identity crisis. We must know who we are and whose we are. We need to verbally declare, just like Joshua did, that "As for me and my household we will serve the Lord".
Leave the past in the past. It is forgiven as Jesus said it was forgiven. You have repented, been broken, even melted and now you are remade. Understand that our battle is not against the flesh but against those dark spiritual forces that want to destroy the heart and mind of this race. The battle is over your heart and mind and those of your family, friends and neighbours. Make sure you have the armour in place and then take your stand warrior. What we fight for impacts eternity. Cast off the whispering father of lies, get your eyes squarely fixed on Jesus, and fight the good fight.