“…in the last days it is going to be very difficult to be a Christian. For people will love only themselves and their money; they will be proud and boastful, sneering at God. disobedient to their parents, ungrateful to them, and thoroughly bad. They will be hardheaded and never give in to others; they will be constant liars and troublemakers and will think nothing of immorality. They will be rough and cruel, and sneer at those who try to be good. They will betray their friends; they will be hotheaded, puffed up with pride, and prefer good times to worshiping God. They will go to church, yes, but they won’t really believe anything they hear. Don’t be taken in by people like that.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, written by the Apostle Paul)
I don’t know much about the “last days,” but I know it can be very difficult to be a Christian today. The people Paul describes in such a derogatory manner includes both nonbelievers and believers from time to time, because our tendency to sin is part of our spiritual DNA. There is no sin that Paul described above that hasn’t described me at some time or another in my life. Except maybe this: “They will go to church, yes, but they won’t really believe anything they hear.” That is the only part I do not relate to; I do not remember a time when I didn’t believe.
Believing has never been my challenge. My challenge has always been disobedience, spiritual shyness, and pride.
I’ve known Christ all my life. He has never left my side, even when I’ve disobeyed Him, lied to myself, or directed my anger in His direction.
He’s comforted me, He’s laughed with me, He’s shed tears with me; He’s been proud of me; I’ve disappointed Him; and, He knows when I can do better.
He’s seen me at my best and He hasn’t turned from me when I’ve been at my worse. He’s been there to pick me up when I fell; He has encouraged me to “brush myself off,” put the past behind me, and move on. Not just once, but countless times over my lifetime.
When He died for us, Christ rewrote the definition of love to include someone like me. It was then I realized that He doesn’t love like I love; He loves unconditionally.
For the Truth is that Christ loves everyone. He believes in us. He always has and He always will. And He died so that our sins could be forgiven and we could start anew.
It’s hard for some to believe in Christ because they’ve never felt the kind of love He has for us before. A love like His requires a child’s heart with the openness of a newborn. It requires a leap of faith and the deconstruction of a lifetime of hurts and learned defenses.
And in “the last days,” whether they be today, tomorrow, or some days far away, all that will really matter is whether we believe and love Him in return.
For all who believe in Christ and love Him, “the last days” are not something to fear… whether they are the end of life as we know it or a loss that hurts so much it might as well be that.
For in “the last days” Christ will not abandon us. He promises we will be loved and not be on our own. We have only to listen to our hearts to know that what He says is true.
Photo by Gergely Zsolnai