A lot of people are observing what’s happening in the world around us – in the Middle East, in our own country and in other places around the world – and they’re asking questions. What’s going on in our world today? And when the Bible talks about end times and last days, what does that have to do with what’s happening around the world and what does it have to do with my life?
When the Bible uses this term last days it is referring to a period of time between the first coming of Jesus, when God revealed himself through his son – that’s the beginning of the last days – and the time when we will see Jesus once again – that’s the end of the last days. We live in this in-between time, between the incarnation of Jesus, when God’s redemptive plan for humanity was set in motion, and His second coming, when that redemptive plan will be fully realized for all of the world. With all of that being said, how do we think about the days in which we live, and what should we be looking for in these days?
Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. … Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of your time, because the days that we live in are evil.” – Ephesians 5:8-10, 15-16
I want to admonish you, to exhort you, to ask you to live wholeheartedly before God and people. As you read the Scripture, as you come to the Word of God, let it shine its light on your own lives.
As as we look around and we see the signs of the times in which we live, will Jesus come again to earth in our generation? I don’t know. But should we become numb to the signs, numb to the issues, numb to the realities of what’s happening around us, and just become numb to this world that we’re living in? No – we can’t. There’s too much at stake to just kind of let these things pass us by and roll off our backs. We need to know that when we see these things these things, it’s time to “turn the lights on,” so to speak, and pay attention.
So I want to ask you, are you living wholeheartedly before God and people? To live wholeheartedly before God and people means that you are letting the light of Jesus shine into every part of your life. When you see the signs of the times that we’re living in, it should call us to attention and say, it’s time to stop keeping secrets. It’s time to stop holding back. It’s time to stop holding things back from the Lord.
It’s time to stop saying, “God, you can have part of my life, but not all my life.” It’s time to stop living with one foot in and one foot out. It’s time to recognize that that cycle of behavior, that cycle of addiction, if you don’t do something different, then that will never change. It’s time to wake up and let the light of life shine into every part of your life, every area of your relationships. Why? Not so that somehow condemnation or guilt comes in, but because God says, “In these days, let the life and the light of Jesus in, so that not you live,not halfheartedly, but wholeheartedly before the Lord.”
Are you living wholeheartedly before God today? Is there anything that you’re holding back? Walk and live as children of the light; no more shadows. It’s time to turn the lights on.
Secondly, here, the apostle Paul says that we should discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Who are you seeking to please every day? What gets you out of bed in the morning? “Discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” What’s going to please the Lord tomorrow? What’s going to please the Lord in your relationship with your spouse? What’s going to please the Lord as you think about the future of your business, or your retirement, or when you think about the influence that you have over your children or your grandchildren? And in these days that we’re living, I want you to push in that direction.
And then finally, he says this, “Look carefully how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of your time.” We need to leverage our time for the things that matter. Whether your current stage of life has you beginning a career, or retiring from it, or doing the day-to-day deeds of work and raising kids, are you going to look at your day-planner for the last six months and say, “Jesus, I’m so proud to show you what I did with my time?” Or are we going to say to the Lord, “Man, I wish you would’ve given me another month, ’cause I was about to change some things?” Make the change today, right now, and let the light of his life come rushing into our lives like never before.