January 23, 2023
The price of eggs… a Mall of America security guard threatening the wearer of a “Jesus saves” t-shirt… attacks on the US power grid… a worldwide obsession with pornography… another wave of nuclear threats coming out of Russia… a universal weakening of democratic institutions… a global reshuffling of leaders… threats of “civil war” in Israel… corruption in the highest levels of government across the world… weaponized Artificial Intelligence… deep fake audio and video enabling previously unimagined levels of deception… global economic chaos… and on and on.
What do these and hundreds of other things like them have in common? They are signs of the soon coming of Jesus. Planet earth is in the throes of the birth of a new world. It’s difficult — even excruciating — but it is also thrilling. We are entering the days foreseen by the prophets.
In this end-times world, we are increasingly surrounded by foolishness, rage against God, arrogance, and by people who devise and delight in evil. It’s important for us, our loved ones, our churches, and our communities that Christians respond well. So, how does God say to respond?
First, let’s look at how not to respond. Jesus taught us not to respond in kind. We are not to spew expletive-saturated vitriol at perceived enemies over social media. We are not to become fearful or violent. Fear and rage go hand in hand. Extreme anger often comes as a result of feeling afraid or threatened. That’s why it is so important for Christians to walk in faith. How can you win people to Christ while living in fear of them and feeling unrelenting anger toward them?
In Mark 11:22, Jesus gave us the answer in only four words — “Have faith in God.”
If your faith is in your own strength or the strength of your political associations or in a particular leader, you will naturally be afraid. You will be outraged by every potential threat. But faith in God allows you to exhibit and grow the fruit of the Spirit — “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB)
Don’t pass over that list too quickly. Consider each word. Don’t you want that? Doesn’t the world need that? Those words represent light in an ever-darkening age — “love… joy… peace… patience… kindness… goodness… faithfulness… gentleness… self-control.”
Proverbs 24:19 says, “Do not fret because of evildoers.” Social media and cable news networks teach us just the opposite. They want us to do nothing but fret over the actions and attitudes of others. If your concern is only for your own worldly well-being, then you will be obsessed with what evildoers are up to. But if you take God’s perspective, you won’t agonize because of evildoers, but over the future of evildoers. The next verse, Proverbs 24:20, says, “For there will be no future for the evil man; The lamp of the wicked will be put out.”
For that reason, verse 19 and many other scriptures admonish us not to envy evil men. They may be flying in lush private jets to conferences about the terrors of climate change. They may have celebrity and power. But unless they turn to Christ, eternity will not be a happy place for them. Meanwhile, the lowliest (by the world’s standards) man or woman in Christ will live in an eternity full of love, joy, and peace.
And we who have faith in God, can live in the same heavenly love, joy, and peace — now.