By L.S. Lee
One of the Christians in the group at the restaurant was waving a debit card around.
“My bank has chips on their cards now,” he said. “They say it’s to secure my information and make it more difficult to steal, but I think it’s just a strategy from the enemy to get us used to the idea of chips. Soon they’ll implant chips in humans and that will become the only way to buy and sell… the mark of the beast.”
Everyone nodded in agreement.
Their conversation moved from there to ISIS, to mass shootings, and back to ISIS, until finally one of them raised his hands in mock surrender. “So, basically, don’t turn on your television unless you want to get scared,” he said. They all laughed, and that was the end of it.
I left the restaurant perturbed. Rather than building up and encouraging one another, this group of believers was causing fear to take hold. I couldn’t help but think that most Christians probably share some of those same sentiments, even if they didn’t give voice to them.
We’re powerless. There’s no hope. It’s only going to get worse. Surrounded by our godless culture, even the most spiritual among us has probably been assaulted by these thoughts at least once. I’ve watched the news and felt fearful at times, as well. The media seems to have a talent for making it all seem so hopeless. But what helps me through and gives me real comfort is resting in the knowledge that God is the same God yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Yes, I know every Christian has heard that a million times, but the challenge is to really believe it – especially in these dark times when danger seems so imminent and the threat so close to home.
Because God has not changed, neither has His promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Since the beginning of time, God told us that all these things would happen. I am so grateful that one of the ways He shows His love for us is that He has never kept His agenda hidden.
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, earthquakes, in divers places,” Jesus told us in Matthew 24:7.
It’s as current as tomorrow’s newspaper.
The other day I was reading the Book of Revelation. Some of it, I’ll admit, I didn’t understand, and I’m not sure I ever will. But the part I understood was scary enough: Blood moon, blood water, locusts that feel like scorpions, and men crying out desiring to die but unable to.
And that’s just the short list of what’s coming. While it’s debatable how many terrors in the Book of Revelation we will have to endure, if I had my say, I’d rather pass on all of them.
Regardless, God did not leave us powerless. He actually has already given us the tools to fight.
For one, He left us His instruction manual, the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (BIBLE). I’ve heard folks say that the Bible is outdated, and that what’s in there doesn’t apply to today – specifically in the areas of marriage and sex. I beg to differ.
The Bible is still alive today and more relevant now than ever, because we really are living in the last days. If there were ever a time to read the Word, it is now, while the Lord can still be found, and while He is yet near, “For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12).
A surprising number of Christians don’t actually read the Bible these days. According to Christianity Today’s website, 80% of churchgoers don’t read their Bible daily. How can this be?
Researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli put the problem squarely in perspective: “Americans revere the Bible – but, by and large, they don’t read it; they have become a nation of biblical illiterates” (Christianitymobile.com). How can we do battle this way?
I’ve heard it said that a hero is only as good as his weapon. God’s Word is our sword, the weapon of our warfare that is mighty to the pulling down of strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4). The weapon God gives us is mighty, but if we show up to battle without it…how can we be victorious?
Not only has He given us the sharpest sword out there, but Ephesians 6:10-11 tells us He has also given us His armor: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”
In the David and Goliath scenario, we’d all like to believe we’re David, showing up to battle with nothing but a few smooth stones to beat the devil. But David had more than that: he had a strong walk with God and an awesome grasp of His Word. “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin,” he told the giant, “but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (I Samuel 17:45).
David may have left Saul’s earthly armor behind, but he came into that fight wearing the full armor of God.
Scripture is the weapon that even Jesus used to overcome Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness. And here’s what I find encouraging: Jesus is for us. He wants us to make it, and He is ready to send us the resources we need for the battle.
When soldiers on the front are running out of water, food or weapons, a runner is sent in to replenish their resources. Jesus works the same way. He says He is the living water, the bread of life, and the respite for our souls. He is every resource we need in our battle against Satan!
The way we tap into this resource is through prayer.
Jesus already knows what we need; He just wants us to recognize our need: “Ask and it shall be given to you…” (Matthew 7:7). God says He’s the loving Father that wants to give us good things.
When it comes to prayer, some people labor under many misconceptions. They think that to pray we must have a huge vocabulary, but God hears the prayer of the smallest child; they believe that we can only be heard in a prayer room, but the beauty is that God is everywhere.
The perfect example of prayer in a tough situation is the prayer of Jesus in the garden. He was facing the toughest battle He’d even gone through, the battle of the will, and God gave Him the strength He needed. If Jesus needed to pray, I’d say we definitely do, too.
What’s even greater is that Jesus is praying for us, too: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for all those who will believe in me…” (John 17:20). He prayed for Simon Peter when Satan asked to turn him away from God, and I find that very encouraging.
When Satan tries to makes us believe that we are all alone in these evil times, and tries to turn us away from our trust in God, we can take heart in the fact that Jesus Himself is praying for us to make it through. Hallelujah!
As Christians it’s easy to forget that we are in a war. If we don’t see immediate danger, we may think we are okay. It’s like the frog in the water scenario. Satan is gradually turning up the heat, and we are so comfortable that we don’t even notice. Before we know it, we can be killed spiritually.
We have been warned that this battle is so much more than what we see: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
As Oscar Montoya said, “The devil doesn’t take a day off.” We should learn from our enemy and use his own strategy against him by not taking a day off, either.
As it tells us in 1 Peter 5:8: “Be alert and of a sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The simile used for Satan is relevant: Just as a lion preys on the weak, so does our enemy. We must make sure we are not weak Christians, lagging behind the rest in our pursuit of God and His Word, because we will become a prime target and we will die.
In conclusion, read your Word and put on God’s full armor. Don’t show up to the battle unarmed, because Satan is coming at you with everything he’s got.
Is the world going to get worse? Absolutely. God tells us so in His Word.
But be encouraged that He has already promised us victory, and that all the resources of heaven will be there when we call.
In John 16:33, after Jesus described the battles we’ll face, He reminded us also of the outcome: “These things I have spoken that you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world.”