(Originally posted on TBLFaithNews.com on 12/9/15)
On a daily basis how would you assess your ability to follow God’s instruction to “be anxious for nothing?” (Philippians 4:6) How about the second half of the verse? Do you honestly bring EVERYTHING to God in prayer with THANKSGIVING? We often hear about having “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding guarding our hearts and minds” (Philippians 4:7), but I wonder how many believers only have an intellectual knowledge of this scripture and not an experiential one? Now more than ever we need to make sure we understand how to access this supernatural peace of God.
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” – 2 Timothy 3:1
The times we are living in certainly are perilous aren’t they? This past weekend I was talking with my parents about how horrific and divisive politics are in our country right now. We were speculating on whether things truly are as bad as they’ve ever been, or if the quick dissemination of info through social media has only brought to light what has been there all along. All I know is the polarization happening across the globe is staggering, and followers of Jesus Christ certainly are not celebrated or even tolerated in the main stream media.
We have a U.S. Attorney General who says she will prosecute “anti-muslim rhetoric” while people who want to speak the Gospel in a public setting are being cut off mid-sentence. All the while, our President seems to have confused his job as Commander-in-Chief with that of an Islamic apologist. I’m no expert, but the world I see certainly seems dominated by the decaying and lifeless morality promoted by secular humanist thinkers, and Paul’s description of the last days certainly does eloquently describe today’s reality from my perspective:
“For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” – 2 Timothy 3:2-5
A friend of mine on social media, recently wrote an amazing post about making sure we are able to stand firm in the face of true persecution, as well as challenging us to persevere in the faith and not desert it and be drawn back into the world. What I found most encouraging about it was his humble admittance to being full of anger towards the President, the government and the direction of our country and his realization that the reason he lost his peace was because he turned his focus to politics instead of keeping it on Jesus. My friend’s realization here, coupled with the instruction I opened with in Philippians 4:6 is the key to us truly having God’s unsurpassable peace.
God clearly instructed us not only to expect such tumultuous times in the end, but also that when we got here there would be little chance of the situation getting better. (2 Timothy 3:13) He also clearly told us that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12)
Most of us have yet to suffer such extreme persecution as our lives being taken if we refuse to deny our Lord Jesus like many of our brothers and sisters in Christ have. However if you are outspoken and passionate about your love for Christ I’m sure you have people in your life who like to mock you and your faith. Maybe you’ve felt like an outsider to the world as I have while reading vitriolic comments in cyberspace from atheists and others expressing their anti-Christian sentiment. Maybe the closer you draw to God, the more separated you feel from the world, and you realize that loneliness can be, or at least feel like, a form of persecution.
However be encouraged for God is in control and all these things must happen before our Lord returns to set everything right permanently. Our job is not to conform, not to back down, not to become a recluse and hide from our ever-darkening world. No our job is to CONTINUE.
“But you must CONTINUE in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” – 2 Timothy 3:14-15
Just keep going! Keep believing God’s word, keep obeying Him, keep trusting Him! If you truly want the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, you must first “take everything to God in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.” Some time alone with God everyday is the answer to everything that ails you.
“Solitude with God repairs the damage done by the fret and noise and clamour of the world.” – Oswald Chambers
My final question to you in closing is this: If God instructs us to CONTINUE doing what we have learned despite the ever worsening situation of the world around us, doesn’t that mean we must first get started? Where will you start?