Friday, October 3, 2008

Times of Trouble

Another day of bad news, stock market falling, banks closing, and politicians operating out of their own self interest. I know that my retirement account has lost 50% of its value. Yet in light of eternity it is not that significant. It is easy for believers to get caught up in this world and to succumb to the spirit of fear. Difficulty comes, does that mean God’s attitude towards you has changed? Is he less pleased with you? The reality is that outward circumstance is not the measure of God’s intention for us. The Apostle Paul would write “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
( Rom 8:35,37 NIV)

I personally believe insecurity and fear comes because we lose sight of what our lives are to be about. Self-preservation is a powerful motivator in human nature, yet we are called to live according to a higher reality. Jesus taught his followers right up front that they were being called to live for something greater than themselves, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matt 16:24-25 NIV) Six times this admonition is given in the gospels. Self-preservation is not the highest value in the Christians life. Jesus in the parable of the sower warned us not to let the cares of this world choke out the good seed of the Word of God. Jesus clearly wants His followers to understand that difficulty in this life is the norm, not the exception. The best investment we can make at this time is to make sure our personal foundations are built on a clear view of eternity and not on the shifting sands of the temporal. We are called to be a missional people, focused on the Kingdom of God.

If our country is to sink in to very difficult times and God’s people can come to grips with the larger issues of mission vs. self, there is unprecedented opportunity for the gospel.