Living in the End Times (Part 4)
6) Practice Tough Faith — Faith comes easy when everything is going good. When there is good health and prosperity, it is easy to praise the Lord. The test of faith comes when all the circumstances of life turn sour.
God has not promised believers a rose garden. We live in a fallen world. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. The wicked prosper. Justice seldom prevails.
It is easy for the righteous to grow discouraged. This calls for the practice of tough faith — the kind of faith that is not dependent on circumstances. It’s the kind of faith that hangs in there when the going gets tough because of a confident belief that “all things work together for good for those who love the Lord” (Romans 8:28).
God never promises that believers will be immune to suffering. What He does promise is that He will be there to walk through the trials with us. He promises to be beside us when we “pass through the waters” and “walk through the fire” (Isaiah 43:2). And He states that He will be there when we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4).
What is the quality of your faith? When life turns sour, do you turn to God, or do you question Him or even curse Him? One of the keys to hanging tough is to learn the promises of God’s Word (like Philippians 4:6-7, 11-13, and 19) and start claiming them in prayer when confronted with the challenges of life.
Far too many Christian have no clue what the promises of God’s Word are so when trials come they like to point fingers and find reason for their actions and responses. They have no clue how to respond in a Godly fashion.
7) Keep an Eternal Perspective — We are to be in the world but not of the world (John 17:11 & 16). That’s a difficult principle to follow. It constitutes a daily struggle.
It is so easy to get our eyes off the Lord and focus instead upon the world in which we live. The daily demands are so pressing. And one of the greatest of those demands is that we conform to the world — to the world’s language, dress, entertainment, and values.
That’s why we are constantly exhorted in Scripture to consider ourselves as “aliens, exiles, and strangers” who are just passing through this world (Hebrews 11:13 and 1 Peter 2:11). We are told to “set our minds on things above, not on the things that are on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). And we are warned to never fall in love with the world or grow comfortable with it (Romans 12:2 and 1 John 2:15-16). In fact, Jesus said we are to “hate our life in this world” (John 12:25), and His brother, James, said “friendship with the world is hostility toward God” (James 4:4).
What does it mean to hate the world? It means we are to hate the evil world system that prevails in society. We are to hate a system that glorifies violence and immorality and which depreciates the value of life.
As C. S. Lewis once put it, “We are to live like commandos behind the enemy lines, preparing the way for the coming of the Commander-in-Chief.” In other words, we are to live yearning for the day when Jesus will burst from the heavens to bring peace, righteousness, and justice to the earth.
8) Look for Jesus — This brings us to the final guideline I would like to emphasize regarding how to live for Jesus in the end times. The Bible tells us point blank that we are to live “looking for Jesus” (Titus 2: 13).
Most Christians are so caught up in the world that they live thinking about anything but the return of Jesus. This is a sad state of affairs because Jesus’ return is our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). And His return is imminent.
Another problem is that most Christians know so little about Bible prophecy that they cannot get excited about the Lord’s return. How can you get excited about an event you know nothing about? Ignorance produces apathy.
And apathy about the Lord’s return has tragic consequences. It robs us of an eternal perspective, and it destroys any sense of urgency about reaching lost souls. It also undermines a powerful motivator for holy living. The average Christian had rather their friends who are lost die and go to Hell than to share the gospel with them and help convert them to Christ.
You see, when a person comes to truly believe that Jesus is returning and may return any moment, that person will be motivated to holiness and evangelism. Regarding holiness, John put it this way: “We know that when He appears [the Rapture], we shall be like Him [glorified]… And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him, purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2-3). Regarding evangelism, Peter writes that the only reason Jesus has not yet returned is because “God does not wish that any should perish, but that all might come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
So, are you looking for Jesus? Are you ready today if He would so choose to return? Sure, I’d love to see my daughter grow up and see my grandchildren. But ya know what? Heaven would be so much sweeter. I had rather Jesus return and my daughter and grandchildren not have to face the hellish world this world is coming to. Look for Jesus.