What are the marching orders for people who live in these difficult, perilous times when the courts are out of control, when the schools are out of control, when neighborhoods are out of control, when it seems as though even your home at times is living on the ragged edge? Let me give you four statements from the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:14-4:18).
1. Follow the model of the faithful. What does it mean to follow the faithful? It means we watch their lives. It means we learn from their example. It means we listen to their instruction. We emulate their virtues. We admire their character. We remember what they endured. There’s something wonderful about having mentors and faithful heroes in the annals of history.
Don’t believe that because our times are hard there aren’t people worth following and models worth emulating. There’s something inspiring about someone going ahead of us—someone who walked the walk and lived the life. There are those who have faithfully lived before you and made it, and you can too. Follow the model of the faithful.
2. Stay with the truth of the Bible. If you stay with the truth of the Bible, you’ll never go wrong. It will never discourage you. It will never lead you astray. All Scripture is inspired by God, profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.
In a world where everything has turned gray and become a blur, the Scriptures still mark the lines between right and wrong, between good and evil, between blessed and cursed. Stay with the teachings of the Scriptures.
3. Proclaim the message of Christ. In an era like this there is no other message like it. Preach the Word. Be ready. Be consistent. Be faithful in season and out of season. Reprove, rebuke, exhort—but don’t be caustic about it. Don’t drive it down people’s throats. Paul says to preach the Word with great patience and for the purpose of instruction. Press it home, make it clear, say it straight, stand strong.
Keep it simple, very simple. People in perilous times are confused. It’s easy for us to dump the truck rather than give them a bit to chew on. There is something about the simple declaration of the gospel that cuts through all the gobbledy-gook and feeds the hungry heart. Proclaim the message of Christ.
4. Maintain an exemplary life. People can argue with your philosophy, deny your theology, and sidetrack you with arguments, but there’s one thing they can never deny: an exemplary life. There is something about a life lived for the glory of God on a campus that people cannot and will not overlook. There is something about an exemplary life lived in the office that people cannot and will not overlook. Even though people today will not endure sound doctrine, be sober, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fill to the full your ministry. Maintain an exemplary life.
Perilous times have come. It’s up to you to obey the marching orders and show Christ’s love to others. Follow the model of the faithful. Stay with the truth of the Bible. Proclaim the message of Christ. Maintain an exemplary life.
Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, “Practical Advice for Perilous Times,” Insights (July 1999): 1. Copyright © 1999 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.