“Jesus answered them, ‘See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
‘Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved… Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect… Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’” Matthew 24:4-13,44; 26:41
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13
There seems a sense of urgency in the bird chatter this morning, more snipped and staccato than the usual carefree, cheerful song. The water jiggles nervously under damp lusty gusts that fuffle through tree tops and snap flags. They know a storm is coming.
There are many a threat to unsettle our equilibrium today, yet the enemy would blind us with complacency and numb us with ease. If he could. God’s people are called to urgency, not stress; preparedness, not anxiety. We do not know what a day or tomorrow holds, so we can be confident in the Lord by safeguarding ourselves with prayer, spiritual armor, and trust in God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will. (Matthew 6:34; Romans 12:2; Ephesians 6:10-17; James 4:13-14).
Are we prone to complain, or fret, or ignore signs of trouble or suffering because we prefer to avoid the fray, the potential pain? Maybe we coddle our own self-righteous justification and blame in order to put off the necessary humility to reconcile? Do we stew in touchiness and hurt feelings because we abhor being wronged, or wrong? We must take care to batten down the hatches on temptation and secure ourselves in the Lord.
We should always have a sense of urgency about being right with God, keeping clean accounts, making the most of storms, and spreading his good news in the midst of them through our words and behavior. We should be compelled every day by an urgency to love, to rejoice, to serve, to give, and to laugh at the days to come because we are ready. (Psalm 112:7-8; Proverbs 31:25)
When spitting rain glosses the path before us slippery, are we determined to forge ahead with careful steps, or do we timidly hang back until it lets up, until danger and inconvenience disappear? When our days get saturated with flooding troubles, are we urgent to embrace God’s purpose and to sow and produce spiritual fruit, or do we lazily allow our suffering to be wasted? (Hebrews 6:7-8)
Father, guard me from being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Enable me to hold my confidence firm in You to the end, daily urgent to honor Your worth and exalt Your glorious purposes. (Hebrews 3:12-14)