Some days call for extra marshmallows.
When you look around and recognize that the words Paul wrote to Timothy all those years ago are being lived out in front of you.
“But understand this… there will come times of difficulty… Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3: 1 + 12
It’s nothing new, but with each shift in the world around us we feel the pressure more and more. To stand for absolute truth when everyone in the world seems to be standing for what they feel to be true – this is only going to get harder.
Jesus is the God of grace and mercy, but not at the cost of holiness. Doing the hard and holy things that His Word defines for us may not be popular or easy, but the calling doesn’t change when the political, cultural or worldly views around us do.
Scripture calls us to more than trying to prove our side. It calls us to love and grace with absolute truth and godliness. It calls us to flee selfish ambition, arrogance, youthful passions and ignorant controversies. It calls us up toward righteousness, faith, love, patience, peace, kindness and gentle but firm sharing of truth.
I love the words Beth Moore spoke at Passion this year, specifically to a generation of 18-25 year olds, but I believe the call to love and truth applies to us all:
“You will watch a generation of Christians – OF CHRISTIANS – set the Bible aside in an attempt to become more like Jesus. And stunningly it will sound completely plausible. This will be perhaps the cleverest of the devil’s schemes in your generation. Sacrificing TRUTH for LOVE’s sake. And you will rise or fall based upon whether you will sacrifice one for the other. Will you have the courage to live in the tension of both TRUTH & LOVE?”
The goal is not to be well liked or to appease the crowd – it’s to be complete, holy and equipped for every good work He calls us to (See 2 Timothy 3).
I’ll be honest – it’s easy to read those words as I sip my hot chocolate and prepare a Sunday school lesson – and much more difficult to put them into action. But my prayer is for a body of believers to cling to the calling, to stand firm together, to remember that the Spirit goes before us and we wage war against forces bigger than Facebook.
May we be armed with truth and grace, confident in the calling of the gospel, and quick to listen as we extend love, as well as an invitation to walk in grace to those around us.