A question I often hear pastors and writers ask is, “If you knew Jesus was coming tomorrow, how would you live today?” The best answer I ever saw or heard in response to this question was from John Wesley. He said he would live it as he has every other day, practicing the disciplines of his spiritual life. What an amazing testimony! We should all aspire to give such an answer. Tragically, few of us can answer in this way.
As the days grow darker and the return of our Savior draws nearer, it becomes urgent we prepare now to meet our Lord. While so many of us play around and dabble with Christianity, I can assure you Jesus will not be playing when He returns. If we don’t hold fast to our faith today, what makes us think we will be ready to meet Him tomorrow?
With so much being written about us being in the end times, you would think it would compel us to take our faith more seriously. People have been proclaiming the end is near as long as I’ve been alive, so I think we’ve all become numb to it. I have no crystal ball. What I know is Jesus said no man knows when He will return (Matthew 24:36), so I don’t put any stock into the claims of anyone who says they have it figured out.
Jesus told us to read the signs and be watchful for His return (Matthew 16:2-3; Matthew 24:37-44; Matthew 24:3-31). What I know from studying Bible prophecy is America, the country in which I live, does not play a role. There’s no hint of America’s involvement in the end times, either directly or by inference. Never in my life has there been the realistic possibility of the destruction of America. Yet today I see it crumbling from the inside out. For the first time, it seems logical and even probable America as we know it is going to go away. It may take five, ten, or fifty years, but certainly, the country is on a destructive path.
I say this not to be political, only realistic. The disappearance of America as a central player in the world certainly seems to coincide with the return of Christ being closer than ever. Each day we live means Christ’s return is closer than the day before. We need to live accordingly. We need to get ready. Persecution is coming, so we must learn how to stand strong and hold fast.
We must saturate our minds and our lives with Christ. Pick up your Bible and read it cover to cover, over and over again. Memorize as much of it as you can. In so many countries, Bibles are forbidden. People are desperate for scripture. Don’t squander the blessing of possessing the Word of God. Make it a part of you so that when persecution comes, it is inside you and no one can take it away from you. If you aren’t making time for reading and studying God’s Word every single day, what is it you are making time for? We are all prioritizing something. Your priorities speak volumes about your faith.
Hold fast to God’s Word. Cherish it. Learn it. Persecution, like most of us have never known, is coming. There will be a day when someone demands you choose between your Savior and the rulers of this world. They will threaten you with unthinkable acts and violence. A time is coming when your faith will be tried. Don’t wait to discover if your faith is strong enough to endure. Build it now so that in the day of trouble you can hold fast and enter God’s presence hearing the beautiful words of Jesus saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into My joy” (Matthew 25:21).