Like many of you I’ve been concerned about some of the current events shaping our world and how they might affect us in the future. As a Christian, I’m not worried about what’s to come, but I do want to be prepared. So today’s blog post is written to me, but you’re free to eavesdrop if you think it might speak to you as well.
Some of us are old enough to remember when Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth was a mega-seller back in the 1970s. One of the benefits of its popularity was that it gave readers a chance to see current events in the light of Biblical prophecy. Several decades have passed since the book was published and we’re all still here. No rapture yet. To be honest, I’m not a prophecy scholar. I don’t know how the future is going to play out. I don’t have the maps and charts that pinpoint the timing of Christ’s return. But what I do know is that every generation of Christians from the days of the early church right up to the present needs to be aware of the times in which they live and prepared for come what may.
This post, then, is a look at what I mean by “prepared.” And the following 12 admonitions, I believe, are true no matter what happens. Even if Christ’s return is a thousand years away or if we’ve totally misread Bible prophecy, these still hold true for us today.
- Don’t be fearful about the future. Someone has wisely said that the fear of the Lord is the fear that drives away all other fears. If we’re living right, if we do fear the Lord, then we can face the future full of faith, not full of fear.
- Don’t rely on any human person (or political party) to pull us out of a national or world-wide decline. No man or woman has that power. If you’re trusting in a man to turn things around, you’re looking in the wrong direction.
- Live clean. If you’re still playing around with sin, you’re wasting time and setting yourself up for an ultimate failure. Get rid of the sin in your life. God wants to use you, but you must discard the sins, ambitions, desires for worldly success that are short-circuiting your usefulness.
- Keep diligent in prayer. Pray for national (and personal) revival. Though no man or woman can bring us out of a decline, God surely can—and desires to do so. Historically, revivals were preceded by much prayer. Get to praying. Serious praying.
- Be doing what God’s called you to do. Find out your mission and get on with it.
- Stop “going to church” on a drop-in basis. Instead, find and become part of a serious and committed fellowship of believers who know you as well as your family knows you. In short, become part of a close fellowship where you can serve and grow in Christ. In the tough times ahead, you will need them and they will need you. (I hope I don’t need to add that you should stay away from ingrown cultish groups, no matter how “committed” they are to each other).
- If you’ve been a fence-sitter regarding your faith, the time for that is over. Your present circumstances may look rosy. Your life may be a peak…but that can all end suddenly. Now is the time to commit or recommit. It’s time to buy oil for your empty lamps (see Matthew 25:1-13).
- If you’re a parent, be a diligent parent. Feed your children positive influences and guard them from the destructive (often openly evil) influences in the media and elsewhere. Be aware of the occult overtures to you and your children in contemporary society. Teach them about heroes of the faith from the past. Do they know who Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael, Jim Elliot, Hannah Whitall Smith, and Watchman Nee were?
- Be prepared physically and practically as well as spiritually. Physically, this means keeping your body healthy and performing well. Practically, it also means taking appropriate measures to have extra food and supplies on hand in case of an emergency. Be prepared.
- Stay current with the news. Know what’s going on. Watch what’s happening through Biblical eyes. Be discerning. Recognize deception when you see it. Applaud truth when it prevails.
- In the next few years, expect an increasing attitude of persecution against Christians to become mainstreamed. Currently, we still have much freedom in America, especially compared to Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere. However, I think many of us sense that America is changing rapidly and not for the better. Persecution has happened many times before in world history and it’s sure to happen again. Be willing to be called names and endure reviling for your faith. Expect attacks on the Bible and possibly physical attacks against churches.
- Despite all the challenges ahead, stay positive. Be a light. Affirm your friends and loved ones. Even if things look dire (nationally or personally), don’t become a fearful Gloomy Gus. God is in control…always. Make your motto “Faith, not fear.”
If all of the above sounds foolish, just delete it and move on. If it makes sense, share it with others. I’m honestly concerned enough about “faith, not fear” that I’m working on a book proposal that will tackle this topic at greater length.