The time is growing short.
It is the end of an age and mankind is racing irreversibly into a time of ever-greater chaos and confusion. A time of great commotion and disturbance. A time of pandemonium. A time of stark contrasts. It will be as Ecclesiastes 3:8 reveals, “a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” A time that has been prophesied by men of God and written in the book of God.
As Christians this should not take us by surprise. In a few short days or years the Lord will return for His church. Then the judgments of God will fall with relentless inevitability upon the unbelieving inhabitants of the Earth. And man will, as predicted in scripture, clench his fist and curse the God of Heaven and Earth.
We are living today at the conclusion of an era. An era that is being driven and defined by the commotion and perplexity of unfamiliar “tomorrows.” An era of such convulsive complexities that they seem to transcend the limited capacities of human comprehension. We are living in a time where the destinies of our world, our nation, and our individual lives seem to balance on the uncertain possibilities of what tomorrow may bring.
Peace of mind is a foreign concept amidst the daily tumult of the world we are living in today. The riot and clamor of each new day compels our souls to try to distinguish between that which is reality and that which is deception. Trapped within the confines of their own limited perceptions, humanity strives each day to bring some semblance of order or sensibility to a decaying world.
The times of vast delusion are rapidly approaching.
(2 Th 2:9) “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,
2 Th 2:10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
2 Th 2:11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.
2 Th 2:12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. ”
There will be times of exceptional spiritual opportunity as the Spirit of God is poured out like a mighty flood in various parts of the world. But there will also be intense spiritual antagonism, animosity from the spiritual realms unlike anything the world has ever experienced before. The time is indeed short and the enemy of our souls has an eye on the timetable. Revelation 12:12 declares, “Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” The time is short and we are living in increasingly accelerated times. Times of fast food, fast knowledge, and fast money to satisfy our fast paced lives. But there is a great emptiness at the center of the whirlwind of our hurried existence. An emptiness shaped by the disappointment and disillusionment that is the inevitable result of our fast-paced fleshly strivings for temporary inner fulfillment. The great void we are experiencing inwardly is the absence of lasting inner peace and true spiritual joy.
This deficit can never be remedied by the manufacture of man. It is not a device that might be fixed by human ingenuity. Nor is it an ailment that can be healed by temporary circumstances of happiness. Rather, it is a state of being which exists as a product of sin.
Lasting peace and true spiritual joy cannot be found in life’s fast lane. Lasting peace and joy can only be experienced as we allow the great emptiness within to be regenerated and rehabilitated by the power and the presence of the living God.
This is the great deception; that apart from God we can achieve wholeness, contentment and fullness of life. In the coming times of ever greater chaos and disorder, men will embrace this deception like never before in the history of the world.
The words of James reach out over the centuries to bring us a stern admonition. A warning about the decadence and deception of seeking temporary fulfillment through self-centered determinations:
James 5:1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.
James 5:2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.
James 5:3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.
James 5:4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
James 5:5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence.
If, as Christians, we believe the deception that abundance of life can be found within the framework of this world, we will undoubtedly strive to imitate the people of this world. We will forfeit spiritual freedom and inner contentment for the occasion of temporary happiness.
Abundance of life can only be experienced as we allow the great emptiness within to be regenerated and rehabilitated by our surrender to the life-changing power of the living God. Abundance of life will never be found in the accumulation of things. It can only be discovered through our submission to the transforming power of God’s redeeming grace. Our submission, our unconditional surrender, to the saving and transforming power of God’s grace is the only authentic avenue to lasting inner peace and joy.
When we speak of surrendering our lives to the power of God’s grace, we are not simply speaking of what we must do for God. The unconditional surrendering of our lives to the power of God’s grace requires something of significantly greater substance than self-effort. God has very little substance to work with when we believe that surrender is mostly about what we must do for God. Surrender is, in fact, mostly about what God must do for us. What God must do for us and especially, in us.
The unconditional surrender of our life to God must first be prefaced by an attitude of brokenness within the heart – because surrender has legitimate substance only as it emerges from the ashes of true brokenness.
Biblical brokenness is the consistent attitude of the heart that we need God’s help, while surrender is the active acknowledgment that God must do for us what we can not do for ourselves. Biblical brokenness is the consistent attitude and active acknowledgment that only God can save and sanctify us. That only God can transform our inner being. That only God can make us holy through our faith in the spilt blood of Christ Jesus. Biblical brokenness and surrender is the consistent attitude and active acknowledgment that only God has the power to make us righteous and make it possible for us to act out this righteousness in our daily lives.
The kingdom of God is a kingdom of everlasting peace and joy. As Christians, through our faith in Christ, we have been granted permanent residency within this kingdom. But there is more to the Kingdom than living within the Kingdom.
By the grace of God, we now live in that kingdom – but – are we allowing the kingdom to live in us? Are we, each day, inwardly experiencing the peace and joy of the eternal kingdom or are we being driven along by the distress and worries of the world? Are we resting inwardly in abundance of life through Christ or are we habitually striving to manipulate the people and circumstances of our lives hoping to experience a temporary contentment within?
In whose dominion do we actually live each day? The dominion of the kingdom of the world or the dominion of the Kingdom of God? Have we become subjects of the Kingdom of God by the blood of Christ only to be ruled inwardly by the chaos and confusion of the kingdom of the world? The kingdom that rules us inwardly is the kingdom that has dominion in our lives.
In the increasingly fierce and violent times ahead, we must surrender to the expansion of the Kingdom of God within us if we are truly to experience, daily, the kingdom benefits of God’s supernatural peace and joy.
The expansion of the Kingdom of God within us is accomplished by the character of Christ being perfected within us. It is Christ being perfected in us that separates us from the ongoing stresses and anxieties that arise from the conflict and chaos of this world. It is Christ being perfected in us that provides us with the daily protection of His everlasting peace and joy. It is the character of Christ being perfected within us that empowers us to experience the benefits of scriptures like Phil 4:6…
Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
It is the character of Christ being perfected within us by our faith in the power of God that increases the territory of the Kingdom of God within us and brings to us the kingdom benefits of God’s supernatural peace and joy.
Simply put – God’s supernatural peace and joy are the product of the character of Christ being perfected within us.
The time is growing short.
James 4:13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”
James 4:14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
We do not even know what tomorrow will bring.
True, lasting, inner peace can be experienced if we are willing to surrender our frantic preoccupation with the temporary gratifications of this world and turn and allow our souls to be rehabilitated by the power and the presence of the living God.
We can choose to access the sanctifying power of the cross of Christ that our very lives may become a sign, a symbol and a declaration of the goodness of God and His love for mankind.
The character of Christ developed within the soul of Christian men and women can be a victorious flagship upon an end-times ocean of growing despair and desperation. The soul that has discovered spiritual rest through faith in the finished work of Christ will be a brilliant light in the midst of the ever-increasing darkness of iniquity and depravity. The saint that dwells restfully in true inner peace and spiritual joy will be a beacon to the anxious and striving multitudes of humanity fruitlessly seeking fulfillment of self through worldly design.
These are the privileges of opportunity and possibility that God has blessed us with in these last days. We have been truly blessed in these troubled times with the opportunity of freedom from excessive anxiety and undue worry. We are blessed with the opportunity of immunity from the ravages of fear and distress. We are blessed with exemption from the misery and grief that will afflict a self-centered humanity with ever-increasing intensity as mankind refuses the everlasting peace and joy that are found only in the grace of God.
It is the end of an age and mankind is racing irreversibly into a time of ever-greater chaos and confusion. The time is growing short… and we should not be found muddling about in profitless bewilderment as are so many Christians in this day.
Ours is the opportunity of the blessing of the supernatural peace of God. A peace which transcends all understanding – guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. A peace that transcends the fluctuating situations and circumstances which make up our daily lives. A peace that brings us blessed assurance in a world full of uncertainty – confidence in the midst of a world overflowing with insecurity.
The time is growing short. But the peace and joy of Christ being formed within us is a timeless kingdom – everlasting.
Copyright © 2004 by R. Thomas Brass
All rights reserved.