It is not an exaggeration to say that the world we live in is in turmoil.
The United Kingdom has just undergone a third change in leadership in less than 2 months. Ukraine is locked in an unjust war with Russia over the last 8 months, with increasing talk of the use of nuclear weapons. North Korea is firing missiles in response to military exercises of their southern neighbour with the US. Economically, Sri Lanka is experiencing a financial meltdown of 74% inflation accompanied by rampant crime, hunger, and a deepening humanitarian crisis. Regarding Christian persecution, Northern Nigeria is reporting the worst crisis of the church in modern history as Islamic terrorists have murdered more Christians in the last year in Nigeria alone than in another country in the world. In north eastern India, the push for a Hindu state has driven people to attack Christians openly. In Afghanistan where the Taliban are now the overlords, Christians who have chosen to stay are in constant danger, hiding from their own neighbours who actively hunt them down. And in Iran, Islamic police have perpetuated a bloodbath as growing protests against the murder of a young girl for wearing a hijab improperly clashed with religious authorities.
Jesus was asked by His disciples once, “Lord tell us, what are the signs of Your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). Over the next two chapters in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus details the horror of a world in turmoil that would precede the coming greater evil, and when Satan’s grip on humanity tightens as he wrestles for the ownership of earth. I cannot help but see our newsfeed as a glimpse of what lies ahead. Jesus calls these “the beginning of birth pangs,” meaning that more is to come, and things will get far worse.
Then He says, “Because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:12-13). Ah! That’s the call. The greatest and most intimate battle is not for supremacy of the world, but for where we place our love. It starts with making the things of Christ more important than the things of this world. It is built on carving out time for prayer when the gods of this age barter for our devotion. It is established by devoting ourselves to God’s Word and our knowledge of the Holy when the foundations of truth and morality are collapsing around us. No one can prepare adequately for an economy in self-destruct or the pounding of the fists of persecutors at your door. How well we endure, Jesus warns, is how well our love for Him persists. So let’s keep the temperature of our love for Him turned up high. A lawless cold is on its way.