I confess, I’m not of the doctrinal persuasion of those who believe Jesus is coming back to take us outta here before things get bad. Do I believe he’s coming back? Yes. But maybe not in the manner we think, and certainly not to allow us to escape tribulation.
I mean, suffering for Jesus is one of the privileges of the follower of Christ. (Mt 5.10-12, Acts 5.41, Rom 5.3, 2Cor 12.10, Phil 1.29, Heb 10.34, Jam 1.2, 1Pet 2.21, 4.1,13-16, etc). Why would Jesus remove us from having that honor—an honor that so many believers all around the world through literal millennia have experienced? Why would we in America (or any other first world country) think we shouldn’t have that privilege? The truth is, it would probably do the church here good to have persecution ramp up.
I say that with care.
Trust me. I don’t wanna suffer. Really—trust me. I fear suffering. And I’m not at all sure I could die for Him, however I’ve been chewing on some simple words of wisdom from Peter that tell us how we can be spiritually prepared to make it through the tribulation that is coming soon.
1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1. Laying our pride down. v6
To get through end times, we must lay down the things we think we know, the things we think we see, the things we think we can decide for ourselves, the things we seek to accomplish in our own smarts and strength. We must prostrate ourselves and be weak; only then can he be our strength.
2. Casting all our anxiety on him. v7
Anxiousness pulls us in many directions due to fear—we’re looking this way, that way, over there, over here, in the past, in the future, etc, etc. Overcoming all that scatteredness (anxiety) isn’t about tossing it away like we’re tossing a stone, but more like putting it on the back of the One we’re walking behind and letting him carry the weight of the past, present, and future for us. Easier said than done. I know. But to get through end times, we must focus in on Jesus, our author and finisher, and keep our gaze upon him in the midst of all the winds and waves about us that have us tossing and turning emotionally and otherwise.
3. Be sober. v8
This is more than just avoiding alcohol and outward dependencies. We must stand away from ALL our addictions. Stand away from our idols. Stand away from dissipation and our materialistic lusts and be clear-headed, moderate. We must be ready and willing to release whatever is needed in our hearts so that we can have victory over Satan’s arguments which are intent on deceiving us in end times.
4. Be alert. v8
Wake up. BE awake. Don’t walk groggy. Rub the sleep from your eyes. SEE. Take heed to yourself. To get through the end times we mustn’t be asleep in the Light.
9 But resist the devil firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.
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