But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves,
money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love,
slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of
pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do
such people. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV)
Sound familiar? It should, because it describes you - and me - to a tee. And you know it's true. We are all each of the things described above. Like it or not, and there's no denying it. I could take each point one-by-one and provide you examples of how what I'm saying is true. But no, that would take way too much of the very limited word-count allotted me in this article.
Well … maybe just one.
Let's just look at the first six words. “People will be lovers of themselves.” Do you claim that you put anyone before yourself? Your parents, siblings, wife, kids, friends, co-workers, congregation or strangers on the street? If you do, you're a liar. It's all about you. No one else can accept Jesus Christ's sacrifice for you, can they? When it comes right down to it, you will always put yourself first. Think I'm wrong? What about your quest to walk that elusive and narrow Christian walk? Ultimately, you will always be alone in it despite any fellowship that you share in. None of the people around you can possibly know if you are saved. That's between you and God. Everything that you do, even the things - no, especially the things that you do for others are, in the end, really for your own benefit. Heck, when it comes right down to it, helping others is just about the most selfish thing that you can possibly do.
And guess what. It isn't wrong of you to be selfish in this way.
Because we ain't got much time left. No, not one of us.
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. Matthew 24:6-7 (NIV)
We—most of you reading this anyway—know that we're saved. But there are literally billions of our brothers and sisters on this planet who aren't, and that's a very sad thing. Everywhere we look we can see the evidence. The lost among us have absolutely nothing to put their faith in. They have no hope of anything beyond this life. Oh, they may believe that the government will take care of their every want and need. And the government—some of them—have gone to great lengths to make them believe this. We simply need to look at the myriad of political candidates who are running for president this year for the proof. They're offering free education, free healthcare, free housing, a living wage that the individual is entitled to whether or not they produce anything that's in the least bit substantial to the world around them. And these individuals don't even have to be a legal resident of the country to collect. These morons—the candidates—have made this clear in the debates! They haven't simply implied it. They've promised it! And they're who we have to pick from to lead our government! Why shouldn't those poor, desperate people believe them?
The Spirit clearly says that in latter times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 1 Timothy 4:1 (NIV)
Can you blame … well … anyone for trying to enter the United States legally or otherwise? They listen to these “representatives” expound on the benefits of living here in the land of milk and honey … and they believe it! There are many countries around the world whose people have so little by comparison to the average citizen of the U.S. that they think that money grows on trees and they will have more to eat than they can stand—because we're all so fat.
I'm not kidding.
We have so much to contend with that it can sometimes seem like an exercise in futility to simply act like Christians without the fear of offending some “social justice warrior”. Let alone the effort that it takes—and it is an effort for some people—to share our testimony and witness even to those who want to hear God's Word. But that's exactly what we're here to do. The Bible does not say that it's going to be a walk in the park. It says very clearly that there will be repercussions to the work that Jesus commanded us to do. It takes strength and fortitude to be a warrior for Christ! It takes a will that's stronger than the opposition to complete the tasks set before us in the great commission! It takes fellowship and meditation on His Word to have all of the tools that we will need to accomplish our mission! And it takes a steadfastness of character not to be beaten down by those who are trying to destroy us! With God on our side, it doesn't matter who stands against us! And He is always on our side! No! Strike that! He is always within us! He is our strength! He is our will! He is our fortitude! He is our courage! We are His avatar!
Anyone among you who doubts that … you have bigger problems to contend with.
Today is the day. Now is the time. The battle is on!
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
G. J. Fortier is a member of Ironmen Ministries and First Baptist Church, Centerville, GA. Look for his novels on Amazon on Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.GerardFortier.com