In a world where moral decline is progressively moving the ruling parties toward open hostility against Christians, it can cause a lot of anxiety concerning the future. That persecution is coming is no longer a question, but only a matter of timing now. How should we, as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, respond in times like these? The only thing we know for certain is things will get worse before they get better with the second coming of our King.
Until that day, I think the best thing we can do is to be faithful. One day we may be called upon to make the gut-wrenching decisions between freedom on earth or remaining loyal to Christ, between providing for our families or denying Jesus. Our steadfastness then will depend on how well-equipped we are to face those moments.
Until we discipline ourselves to be faithful in the little things of life, we will never stand firm in the harsher trials of the days to come. The training time is now, and we’ve little time left to prepare. Everything we do must be towards bringing glory to Christ. This means training every decision, action, thought, and word to be pleasing to Jesus. Whatever our hands find to do should honor God.
Remember when Paul was instructing the church in Philippi how to guard their thoughts? He told them to only think about things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, of moral excellence, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). This is where it all begins. Don’t fill your mind with the garbage this world offers through its various streams of media. Keep yourself from bitterness and pride. Think only of Jesus and His love. Allow His holiness to penetrate you to the core.
What we listen to, watch, read, and take part in determines how ready we will be to face persecution, and ultimately to face our Lord when He returns. Everything we allow into our brains affects who we become and is a bellwether for how faithful we will be. You can’t consume poison all day and be healthy. You can’t indulge in the things of this world and be faithful to Christ at the same time. God sees every thought you have, every word you speak, and everything you do. We cannot be perfect, but we can be faithful.
If we want to stand for Jesus through the toughest trials in life, we’ve got to get ready. Take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Don’t play on the edges of sin thinking you can handle it. Satan is a prowling lion, just looking for that one small crack, that one slip, to pounce and devour you (1 Peter 5:8-9). When the Holy Spirit convicts you of what you are listening to, watching, or doing, heed His voice. Get rid of anything that causes temptation for you. No matter what it is, it’s not worth it. Nothing is worth sullying the name of Christ. If you want to be faithful in the future, you must be faithful now.
Put away your selfish desires and renew your mind daily with the teachings of His Word and through prayer (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18). No matter how bad things become on this earth, take heart and be encouraged that this is all temporary. Jesus is coming back and He will inflict His fierce wrath on all those who reject Him. As for you, stand firm, be faithful, and be ever watchful (1 Corinthians 16:13-14; Mark 13:35-37). Our King is coming and our deliverance is assured.