My thoughts have been focused on the challenges the church faces in these difficult times. There can be little doubt that we face great adversity and undeniable challenges. The naysayers would have us to believe there is little hope for revival and any hope of spiritual renewal are long gone. It is apparent that the spiritual climate of our modern society has deteriorated at an alarming rate. We face an increasing struggle to engage those who are lost without Christ, hoping to help them recognize their need of salvation. Numbers and attendance are down across the board. Clearly we have entered a spiritual climate that ought to drive us to our needs in prayer and supplication before God.
As we survey the needs and difficulties of our day, there should really be no surprise. In fact, the Bible teaches that this environment must evolve prior to the Lord's return for the church. 2 Thes. 2:3 - Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; The phrase "falling away" speaks of a departure, literally apostasy. We are seeing that come to pass in our generation, right before our very eyes. Our nation as a whole has clearly turned away from God.
So, that begs the question: What is the church to do in such a time as this? We are seeing the prophecy of Scripture fulfilled. God's Word will be accomplished in His time and in His way without fail. Just as there was an appointed time for Christ to come in the first advent, so too there is an appointed time for Him to come again. Many seem to have given up on their responsibility. They would say, "The Bible is being fulfilled and there is nothing we can do about it. People are not as receptive as they used to be, and there is little use to try and reach them."
I fear that is the attitude of many within the church today. They may not readily admit it, but many are all too ready to chalk up the lack of genuine conversions and a drastic decline in attendance to unchangeable circumstances.
Be that as it may, we have a choice to make. Are we going to sit idly by, waiting within the comfort of our salvation for the Lord to return, or are we going to rise to the occasion and meet the challenges of our day for the glory of God. We know these events must transpire, and they will just as God pleases, but that is no license for us to abandon the work that Christ has left us to fulfill. We are still in the age of grace. The Spirit of God is still at work, even if we fail to see it. There are still countless souls lost and undone before God. The church has a responsibility to continue in the faith as long as she is here.
We face great challenges, but I choose to rise to the occasion, striving to do all I can in the time that I have. These are dark days, but light shines brightest when it is darkest. We still have a work to do! I don't want to stand before the Lord and realize that I gave up in the third quarter when the victory could have been won! I am committed to staying in the race, seeking to serve the Lord as He would have me too, even if the results are not what I desired or what former generations achieved.
What will you choose for the coming year? If you were to meet Christ our Lord this year, would you be confident in your accomplishments? Surely there is still much to be done, and it has fallen our lot to labor in the harvest at this particular time!