By Sean Malone, Director of Crisis Response International
There is a growing apprehension today on the earth and sadly even in the church. The apprehension is rooted primarily in our incessant attachment to this “world” and the things thereof. Many of our pulpits have worked overtime to teach us that a life following God would benefit us financially and guarantee us no harm. But my question is, where does this leave the persecuted church or the churches in 2/3rds of the world who live in poverty? Yes, God protects His children but not under the pretense of preserving our lifestyles, but rather bringing glory to His name and advancing His Kingdom. Looking at scripture, suffering is a core theme in the life of the apostles and a badge of honor, yet sadly in the West we wholeheartedly disdain it.
In these end-times you can feel the fear levels rising exponentially. Jesus prophesied it years ago when he said, “People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” Luke 21:26.
There is no doubt we have many challenges to embrace here in the West but Jesus did not focus on the practical elements of how to escape these things. He warned us that the issues of the heart were more important than beans, guns and water.
Jesus actually gave us insight into how to endure and escape these days, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21: 34-36
Jesus is telling us to guard our hearts from the anxiety of what is to come or else that day will close on us like a trap. Do you realize that all of our cunning preparedness for the days ahead could mean absolutely NOTHING if we are doing it out of apprehension, fear and mere self-preservation? If it wasn’t so He would have been much more clear about the End-Time Church storing up and preparing for the “big hold out”. But He didn’t. He is the Suffering Lamb that showed us another way. We need to have eyes to see His Kingdom and His ways. That’s why our Great Shepherd warned us to watch our hearts more than our stuff.