“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty” (2 Timothy 3:1, ESV). Right now things are taking place we could never have imagined. Jesus predicted that men would become lovers of themselves, lovers of money, hateful, proud and arrogant. Today if someone has the nerve to mention sin, he is called a bigot and made an outcast. As God’s Word is moved to the sidelines of the culture, sin becomes more and more prevalent.
As Christ’s Body, we dare not be asleep to these things. The Old Testament speaks of the sons of Issachar “who had understanding of the times” and skill in dealing with the world (see 1 Chronicles 12:32). Can the same be said of Christ’s Body today?
If we discern the times, we know this isn’t a moment for half measures. The only way for us to “deal with the world” is to not let church be business as usual. Jesus said of certain demonic spirits, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21, NKJV). In these times, our prayers have to be fervent, because without spiritual change, things look too bleak.
In the midst of darkness, Jesus calls us to be light. And here is our message for such a time: “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4, JKV). God has done awesome works in the lives of his people and each one of us is called to proclaim his glory through a testimony that can be called boast-worthy — worthy of being praised and extolled.
What does a boast-worthy testimony look like? Paul says, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord” (2 Corinthians 10:17, NLT). In order to do the kind of boasting Paul describes, we must have a boast worthy of God’s glory. For instance, Stephen was a deacon who distributed food to widows — a good testimony in itself. But his boast-worthy testimony came when he preached to an unbelieving crowd and so provoked them that they stoned him, making him the first martyr of the church.
Our boast-worthy testimony will come only from the power of God, not from our own strength, zeal or effort: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV).