Growing up in the small town of Kalona, Iowa, I was relatively insulated from the chaos of the 21st century. No matter what transpired in the world or America, where I lived, nothing seemed to change.
Every day, the Amish still drove by in their horse-drawn buggies.
In summer, rolling hills were dotted with bales of hay, while shocks of corn stood tall and strong.
Each fall, the farmers harvested corn and soybeans, leaving cleared fields for the barren winter months.
In small-town Kalona, even if I didn’t know everyone I rubbed shoulders with, they likely knew my Dad and our family.
December and January snow flurries provided hours of fun for my siblings and myself.
An evening stroll, a rousing game of baseball, kickball, or kick-the-can outside with my parents and siblings assured me that everything was fine.
Moreover, the 48 cows in our dairy barn kept the same mood whether George Bush, Barack Obama, or Donald Trump won the election.
The problems in D.C., the national economy, or the machinations of geopolitics didn’t seem to affect my daily life one bit.
Yet the more we traveled, and the more I read, the more I discovered that what was happening in America and the world would profoundly affect not only my life, but the lives of my descendants. These were things I simply could not ignore.
Sadly, many Americans seem to have been lulled to sleep by prosperity and security.
Today, we’ll examine four vital truths that we must awaken to in order to properly live in today’s perilous times.
1. We Must Understand Our Battle Before We Can Effectively Engage the Enemy
I Chronicles 12:32 describes the children of Issachar as “men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” In other words, their knowledge of their present enabled them to take proper action.
What is the nature of today’s battle?
- Our battle is spiritual. Ephesians 6:12 states, “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.”
- Our battle is on many fronts. God cares about every aspect of life, but so does Satan. The Devil seeks to advance his kingdom of darkness in any way possible, whether it be through family, culture, the Church, politics, media, or education. Satan undermines all that God calls good. In contrast, Christ claims authority over all of life.
Those who would understand the times must answer questions like the following:
- What are the greatest problems the Church and America face today? Where did they come from?
- Right now, what people and ideas is Satan using to forward his agenda?
- What does God’s Word say about contemporary trends in America and the world?
As warriors in Christ’s kingdom, we cannot bury our heads in the sand. Ignorance is not bliss.
2. We Must Grasp What’s At Stake
250 years ago, in the War for Independence, Henry Knox noted, “The eyes of all America are upon us… as we play our part, posterity will bless or curse us.” Some 200 years later, Ronald Reagan struck a similar vein, echoing, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
Both Knox and Reagan spoke to the responsibility of each generation to do its part. Truly, God has placed us here for such a time as this and has given us a divine responsibility to our generation that cannot be abdicated or ignored. Ultimately, how we succeed or fail in rising to today’s challenges will shape the course of future generations.
The book of Judges stands as a sober reminder. When one generation fails to prepare the next, future generations will certainly pay the price.
3. We Must Care About More Than Just Ourselves
Do we care about more than our pocketbooks and personal security? Do we care about our brothers and sisters in Christ who are martyred, tortured, and ridiculed? Do we care about the world in which our children and grandchildren will live in?
Or have we become selfish, apathetic, and ignorant?
- Do we know how many Christians have been martyred for their faith in the past ten years?
- Do we understand economic implications of our nation’s over $21 trillion debt, not counting roughly $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities? Did you know that if America’s real national debt (including unfunded liabilities) were divided by individual, every person living in the US might owe over $660,000?
- Do we understand the deadly philosophies behind government education?
- Do we realize that many Americas profess to be Christians but are actually lost?
- Are our hearts broken by the over 60 million unborn children that have been murdered in the United States since 1973, a figure equaling 1 out of every 6 of today’s 328 million Americans?
- Do we understand the hidden Agenda to destroy the freedoms our founders bled and died for?
We will never take the time to understand the extent of the crisis if we don’t even care.
4. We Must Have Courage to Apply God’s Word in Today’s Society
In the end, knowledge alone will not win the day. We need more. We need courage.
When they launched the campaign to abolish the British slave trade, William Wilberforce and the members of the famous Clapham Group knew their cause was deeply unpopular.
Yet they willingly weathered criticism because they were more concerned about following God than pleasing men.
Like Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer stood up to Hitler’s Nazism, eventually losing his life. He firmly believed, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
Today, Christians in India face attacks every 24 hours for their faith. In many other places, like North Korea, China, Iran, and Pakistan Christians are willing to be imprisoned, tortured, or even killed for sharing and claiming the name of Christ.
In America, we don’t face martyrdom yet. But are we willing to stand with Christ if that means losing a TV show, going out of business, being censored on Facebook, or facing ridicule from popular culture?
Is our sole allegiance to Christ the King? If so, we can believe, as Christ said in Matthew 5:12, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
Today, it takes courage to die a martyr for Christ. But it also takes courage to live boldly for Christ.
A Few Helpful Tools
If you’d like to better understand the times, but can’t spend a lifetime in study, start with some of these helpful resources.
- The Worldview in 5 Minutes is a daily Christian newscast that covers major events in the United States and the world from a biblical perspective. Even better, it’s only 5 minutes to listen to each day!
- The documentary Agenda: Grinding America Down tells you what you need to know about the people and movements that have systematically undermined America’s culture, morality, and government.
- Agenda 2: Masters of Deceit explains that the issues we face today stem from one common enemy.
- Understanding The Times provides an insightful, well-documented overview of six major worldviews (Christianity, Islam, New Spirituality, Marxism, Secularism, and Postmodernism), all from a biblical perspective.
- Seven Men Who Rule The World From the Grave gives a fascinating peek into the lives and beliefs of seven men who profoundly affect our world today.
- Foxes’s Book of Martyrs is a must-read for any Christian. This edition includes martyrs from history all the way to the 21st century.
- Apostate records the fall and decline of Western Civilization, probing deeper into the men whose ideas have transformed our culture.
How much do you care about current events? In the words of William Wilberforce, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
QUESTION: What is the biblical connection between knowledge and action? How should we correctly understand the times in order to respond biblically to them?