We are confronted daily with news of conflict, disaster, and countless atrocities that are beyond our comprehension. Often we think, “What is this world coming to?” As Christians we know it’s coming to an end, one of these days, but until then, what? When Jesus came to earth, he taught about the Kingdom of God. When he rose from the dead, he defeated death, hell and the grave. He fulfilled the plan of salvation. At that point, we are told that Satan’s defeat was assured; his demise written in stone; however, his destruction is yet to me. Until Jesus returns, we are living in the last days, the gap between Jesus’ resurrection and His Second Coming when peace will reign. In the meantime, we can expect to deal with evil and injustice and all that sin inflicts upon humanity and this earth. Paul tells us, along with Timothy, that there will be terrible times. Satan knows that his days are numbered, so he’s making his last stand. He will do as much damage as he can before he is tossed into that bottomless pit. So, how do we respond during these terrible times?
2 Ti 3:1-4, 8-12 Ex 8:19; Ro 12:21
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. (2 Ti 3:1-4) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Ro 12:21)
When dealing with trouble forewarned is forearmed. God’s Word tells us it will happen, so we need not be surprised when we see and experience heartache and heartbreak. We shouldn’t live with a sense of impending doom, but we can expect that there will be trouble. People will be consumed with selfishness and their selfish desires will lead them into all kinds of wicked behaviors. We can rest assured, however, that evil will be exposed. We often see people who lie, cheat and steal, yet they receive promotions and experience financial gain; but evil will not win! Paul speaks of the two magicians in Pharaoh’s court who performed the same miracles under the power of Satan as Moses performed in God’s power. They seemed to be on track with Moses until the 4th plague, but they could not conjure the gnats that God brought upon Egypt. Their response to Pharaoh was, “This is the finger of God.” (Ex 8:19) Evil is powerful but it is not more powerful that God. Evil will be exposed and destroyed, but probably not in the time frame we desire, but in God’s time. We are responsible for how we respond when trouble comes. Paul points to his own behavior during the course of many troubles, trials and much persecution. He kept his purpose clearly in focus. He used his gifts to teach about Jesus. Holding onto his faith, he patiently and lovingly endured whatever opposition he faced. No matter how discouraged you may be or what you face, hold onto your convictions. Don’t let evil overcome you. Jesus has overcome the world. He is our example and our shelter in the time of trouble.
Do you listen to the news regularly? If so, how does it affect your attitude? How can you stay informed, yet not allow the world’s trouble to pollute your outlook? What recent trouble have you battled? What is your outlook? Share something positive that you’ve learned this week. What do you do to encourage your heart? Who do you see as a role model when it comes to dealing with trouble in life?
To counteract the “bad news” of the world, look for good news, acts of kindness and positive influences. Share good news with others. Pray each day for God’s guidance and wisdom to keep your focus on His purpose.
Dear Lord, I need your strength each day to navigate the troubles of this world. Keep my focus on you and on your divine purpose for me. Thank you for the assurance through Jesus that sin is defeated and that evil will be exposed. I look forward to the eternal joy and peace of spending eternity with you. In the meantime, help me to fight the good fight and to gracefully and lovingly share your truth with the world. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.