Redeem the time, for the days are evil.
In most matters, I consider myself to be a bit of an optimist. I certainly try to look at things in a positive light while being realistic about actual conditions. I also tend to believe things will work out for good as I try to live by God’s promise in Romans 8:28. My optimism though, must be balanced with the truth of God’s Word that tells us that things will get much worse for those who want to live righteously in these last days, and as the scripture above states, the days are evil in which we live now. My awareness of this is growing more intense as of late as I mature in my faith, but also due to the changes for the worse I am seeing in our culture, and more specifically, our state of Illinois. As our culture seems to delight in the murder of the unborn as if it is something to be celebrated in the name of “freedom” and “rights”, and as people can now change their sexual identity because they “feel” like it and insist everyone condone and approve of whatever they choose to do with that, we are definitely in days of evil. We cannot be surprised at these developments as the Bible tells us this is how it will go prior to Christ’s return. We are still called be salt and light for the gospel message and to love our neighbor in Christ’s Name, but it is getting more challenging to do so now. Jesus told us that persecution of His followers would increase towards the end, and I read the other day that Christians are now the most persecuted group in the world and more people are suffering for their faith today than ever before in history. What are we to do? Pray, stay diligent and redeem the time while we can! In Luke 21, Jesus spoke of the trials of the last days and told His disciples to “be on guard”, to pray and to stay ready for His return. We must make every day count as a day to honor God and love Him, no matter what the cost. The way of following Christ has always been the way of faith that endures suffering, and does good even when faced with evil. In our current church focus of “comfort” and “success in numbers”, perhaps we’ve lost sight of how our lives are really supposed to go as His disciples. Redeeming the time is about being faithful to God and loving Him and other people, but also speaking truth in love and not compromising what God tells us is right. We must resist basing our idea that all is well when we are growing our popularity and prosperity in this world. The latter tends to lead to compromise for the sake of success, and the former to sacrifice for a higher cause that really demands faith. I believe in these difficult times we are now facing, we need to examine our values as believers and as churches and be sure we are willing to “go to the mat” for Christ, even if we do not see success and approval. Something to think about for sure!
Love in Christ,
Pastor Gary Houdek