With so many problems in the world right now, and not knowing who’s telling the truth about them either, I’ve often thought, “Why bother trying to keep up?” And why get myself in a dither about things I cannot change? So at times I feel like tuning out, and just letting the world go by, doing what it has to do.
But Jesus did say in Luke 21:36, “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen.” So, be aware of what’s going on, because, verse 34, it could “close on you unexpectedly like a trap.” So he was warning the Jews of his day to keep an eye on what dangers were developing so that “you may be able to stand before the Son of Man,” verse 36.
Facing reality, then, was very much on Jesus’ mind. But it had its dangers too, because Jesus also said, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down,” verse 34. So, in trying to keep up with what’s going on in the world it can also become so overwhelming it drives you to drink, or constantly worrying about survival (verse 34).
Somewhere in this dilemma, then, there has to be a balance, so that we’re not overstating the fear, but not understating the dangers.
On the one hand, we can’t ignore Paul, Peter and Jude, who were all well aware of the powerful influences of their culture and how Christians could fall prey to them, so they didn’t hold back in their warnings.
But while reading what Paul wrote to Timothy about “the terrible times in the last days” in 2 Timothy 3:1-9, I noticed what Paul wrote a few verses later in verse 13. He warned openly of “evil men and imposters going from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived,” so he faced up to the reality of the world they were in, and he faced Timothy up to it too – “BUT,” he writes in verse 14, “as for you (Timothy), continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of.”
Paul was referring, of course, to “the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus,” verse 15.
In other words, Timothy, face reality, but face it with Scripture.