Category Archives: Faith Journey

Fishers of Men

Christian, do you consider yourself to be part of a grand story?

I wonder how many Christians sit on the sideline of life, neither expecting nor wanting God to put them into the game.

But Christians are more than benchwarmers who receive a championship trophy (a ticket to heaven) merely because they are part of the victorious team.

Our Biggest Need

Sin separates us from God. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not only from our sin, but also from its consequences, most notably, separation from God now and in eternity.

Christians become children of God from the moment of salvation. We should expect a close relationship with Him in this life. We dwell with God, learn his ways, learn his purpose for us and obey him.

What Does Jesus Call Us To?

When Jesus calls you and me to follow him, he does not call us to a life concerned mostly with the things of this world (Matthew 6:32-33), but to an abundant life where we work alongside Jesus in his kingdom. Jesus does not call us to a lackadaisical life marked by a half-hearted and reluctant obedience but to a life marked by zeal to do good works (Titus 2:14) that God has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10). He calls us to make the most of our time for the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16).

What Task Has Jesus Given Us?

If we are to work alongside Jesus, we must know our purpose, our mission, given to us by Jesus.

When Jesus called Peter and Andrew, he immediately told them that he would make them fishers of men. Their new job description, their new purpose that he would later explain to them, was related to his purpose for coming from heaven to earth (Luke 19:10). When we start a new job it is important to know what the job entails. When we are born again and start a new life in Christ, it is even more important to know what this new life is all about.

It is significant that the first thing Jesus told his disciples (become fishers of men) and the last thing he told his disciples described their purpose. In Mathew 28:18-20 Jesus told his disciples to make disciples of all nations:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Is not our purpose to make disciples who make disciples? If we are to make disciples we must first be disciples.

It is God Who Works In You

When we are born again, our priority becomes to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.

As disciples, we must no longer be conformed to the image of this world but to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). This is God’s purpose for us—we, as children of God, must become like Jesus. This transformation is God’s doing.

God is working in us and completing this work (Philippians 1:6). (Ephesians 4:23-24). However, this does not mean we need to wait until we have reached some pre-determined level of spiritual maturity before we can start making disciples. We can start right away. But just as our personal transformation is God’s doing, so is the expansion of Jesus’ kingdom (Philippians 2:12-13). Without Jesus we can do nothing (John 15:5). Go and proclaim the gospel of the kingdom when Jesus sends you. See Luke 9:1-6; 10:1-12.

From Eternity Past

Making disciples is indeed a grand purpose. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. In eternity past, before the foundation of the world, God the Father said to God the Son:

Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. Psalm 2:8 (NASB)

Did Jesus make this request to the Father? Evidently he did. Jesus speaks of those whom the Father has given him:

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” —Mt. 10:28-30

God the Father gave Jesus disciples:

I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. —John 17:6

Jesus’ disciples would go on to make disciples who are also given to Jesus by God the Father:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.—John 17:20-24

Jesus came to seek and save the lost. That God would allow us to participate in his purposes is an astonishing privilege.

Ambassadors for Christ

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

—2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Here we see the amazing privilege we have to spread the gospel—our purpose intertwined with God’s purpose. Anyone who is in Christ has been qualified and commissioned by him to carry the message of reconciliation to the world. That’s you. That’s me.

As ambassadors we have the responsibility to share the gospel, to represent the kingdom of God to the kingdom of this world. Too often I have been content to support other ambassadors for Christ through giving, leaving evangelism to them. It’s good to support other Christians as they labor in the kingdom. But, when Jesus implores his disciples to pray for workers of the harvest (Matthew 9:36-38) what proof do we have that someone else is the object of those prayers and not us?

Become fishers of men.

How Important Is Christian Stewardship?

offering box for stewardship

Most Christians would probably agree that stewardship of our money is an important aspect of our faith. But if we merely nod our head in agreement without taking demonstrable action, we may be in grave danger.

John Wesley proposed four questions about how to spend money. These questions are as pertinent today as in Wesley’s time (1703-1791).

The four questions are:

  1. In spending this money, am I acting like I owned it, or am I acting like the Lord’s trustee?
  2. What Scripture requires me to spend this money in this way?
  3. Can I offer up this purchase as a sacrifice to the Lord?
  4. Will God reward me for this expenditure at the resurrection of the just?

Wired from birth to think of things as belonging to us, we instinctively want to protect “our things” from others. A young child will cry out “That’s mine!”  if he discovers a sibling playing with his toys. As adults we speak of how we earn what we have. With this perception of ownership, spending money becomes a right instead of a privilege and giving money becomes a burden rather than a joy. The Bible gives us the proper perspective – “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1)

Ownership and stewardship differ in one important aspect. Ownership entitles a person to decide how he uses his wealth; he answers to no one. A steward acts on behalf of the owner and at his direction. In either case property must be protected from theft.

In regard to Wesley’s first question, when we act as if we own our money we don’t protect it from theft so that we can use it for God’s purposes. Instead we protect it from being used for God’s purposes so that we can use it for our purposes. But the Bible proclaims that in doing so we become the thief. We rob God (Malachi 3:8) and place ourselves in danger of losing our life because we are not rich toward God (Luke 12:20). In contrast, when we act as his steward we store our treasure in heaven where the thief cannot steal it (Matthew 6:20). We are able to live life unshackled from worry (Matthew 6:31-34).

Wesley’s second question addresses God’s right, as owner, to direct how we spend our money. For example, he expects us to provide food, clothing and shelter for ourselves and for those depending on us. He also expects us to help the widow and orphan. He expects us to use our resources to spread the gospel. We can find many other commands in the Bible to guide us in our stewardship.

Wesley’s third question helps us prioritize our spending. When we act like we own our money, God gets our leftovers. We sacrifice not at all having already purchased what we wanted. When we act like a steward of God’s money, we give him the first fruits trusting him to provide our needs. If we don’t give this serious thought we will, by default, spend money on luxuries that God intended us to spend on furthering his kingdom. God gives his children good gifts to enjoy, but not everything he gives us is for our personal use.

The fourth question, emphasizes why, from an eternal perspective, it is important that we be good stewards. Having an “owner” mentality, unwilling to use money as God directs, results in eternal judgment (Matthew 25:30). Stewards get rewarded in eternity. When we faithfully steward God’s resources wisely, we share our master’s happiness forever (Matthew 25:23).

It is important to emphasize we are not saved by our stewardship. But how we spend our time and money is evidence at the last judgment that proves or disproves the genuineness of our professed faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We spend our money on what we value. Good stewardship directs resources to advance the kingdom of God, thus showing faith in and love for the King (Matthew 25:31-40).

Wesley set a high standard consistent with the Bible. To seek God’s will so that every expenditure accomplishes his purpose is a concept foreign to Christians enchanted with Western individualism. Conforming to a society that opposes freedom to do God’s will in favor of a freedom designed to shield us from God’s will, results in our harm. Those who give nothing of their time and money to further God’s kingdom can expect to be among the goats, assigned to eternal punishment at the last judgment (Matthew 25:30; 25:41-46).




Rejoicing, Not Boasting, Is the Key to Loving Your Neighbor As Yourself


(Introductory note – This post is an adaptation of the “theological reflection” section of a paper I wrote years ago for a seminary class.  Since it represents my personal interaction with Scripture, it is written almost entirely in first person form.)

Saving faith changes the way I think and act. It has to. I am not the same person I was before I was born again. Romans 5-7 clearly delineates for me the difference in my spiritual condition before and after salvation. As an unbeliever, I was an enemy of God, under condemnation of death, a slave to sin, and powerless to escape from this predicament. As a believer, because of the work of Jesus Christ, I am reconciled to God, stand in a state of grace, have been justified, have eternal life, and am now a slave to righteousness. Though I will never be free from sin in this mortal body, God is working in my life, empowering me by the Holy Spirit to act as one dead to sin.

There is a oneness to humanity that I haven’t always understood or fully appreciated.  This is partly because American Christianity focuses on individuality. While it is true that each individual is accountable for his or her response to “what think ye of Christ?”, realizing my connectedness to Adam and the whole of humanity can change how I perceive my fellow humans. My attitude toward certain unbelievers sometimes reveals a disdain that is undeserved, at least when it comes from me. Despite knowing that my salvation is from God and is not by my own efforts, I sometimes, in uncaring fashion, expect an unbeliever who has never been liberated by a new birth in Christ to somehow, on his own, think like I do.

Unbelievers are not in a state from which I escaped, they are in a state from which God has rescued me. Similarly, oneness in Christ is often viewed among Christians only as our “personal relationship with Christ” without giving due consideration to our unity as a body of believers saved by grace, being changed by God.

How can identifying with both lost and saved humanity produce joy in the midst of the suffering I encounter at the hands of others? How can I love God and my neighbor?

It’s not wrong to long for a world without sin – it will come in the eschaton (2 Corinthians 5:1-5), but when I expect the present world to be a certain way rather than how it actually is, I am questioning God’s timing and his ways. He will make things right. He is the only one who can make things as they “ought to be.”  The unbeliever’s need for God is the same as my need for him even though he hasn’t acknowledged it. Other Christians’ struggles, though not identical, are basically the same as my own. I must accept the plight of humanity of which I am a part, and I must look to God as my hope and theirs.

Joy comes in the midst of suffering for doing good precisely because God is testing me and purifying me and by these means is accomplishing what I so long for – to be rid of my sin and to be able to rejoice at the revelation of Christ’s glory (see 1 Peter 4:12-19; Philippians 1:6). Trials are a sort of “stamp of approval” by God who is declaring through them – you are mine, I am preparing you for my kingdom (Hebrews 12:6,7,10).

The fact that “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see” should bring joy to my heart, not disdain for the unbeliever. I have a different standing before God and a different destiny than the unbeliever, not a different origin. Empathizing with the lost reminds me from where God has redeemed me and motivates me to reach out to them with the gospel. Identifying with his elect reminds me of where he is leading me and what he is accomplishing in me. I have no reason to boast or complain and every reason to rejoice.

My wishing for a better world won’t change it, my wanting professing Christians to behave at a higher standard than non-Christians won’t change the fact that they often don’t, and my desire to be free from being “the wretched man that I am” won’t cause it to happen.  Only God is able to open my eyes to the truth and change me and my view of life – and, thanks be to God, he is.



Five Mistakes to Avoid When Seeking God’s Will for Your Life

Fork in the road which way is God calling you

Christians naturally want to know what God’s will is for them. However, when the focus of this question is on vocation rather than following Jesus, we are liable to get sidetracked.

Here are five common mistakes that Christians make when trying to discern and pursue God’s will for their life:

1) Looking in all the wrong places.

I believe this is far and away the biggest mistake we can make. We attend conferences, workshops or even pay an exorbitant fee for testing so that a “life planner” can lead us to the Promised Land of vocational fulfillment. (I have done this.)  We get off course because we haven’t seriously considered the most obvious way God communicates his will to us – through reading the Bible.

God expects us to discern his will (Romans 12:1,2; Ephesians 5:15-17). Furthermore, he tells us where to look (2 Timothy 3:16,17; Psalm 119:105). The Bible is filled with commands telling us what we should be doing and not doing. And the thing is, most Christians know what these are, but are looking instead for something with more pizzazz, something that relates to the “9 to 5 world” rather than to one’s entire life.

The best advice I ever heard on the subject of God’s leading is not complicated. It is short, sweet and to the point – Do what you know to do.

2) Ruling out our present situation as a calling.

We are sure we are missing our true calling. There could be a number of reasons we feel this way, but one reason might be that we don’t think becoming more like Jesus is a calling. It is.

Do what you know to do. Obey God. Act on the convictions of the Holy Spirit. As far as vocation goes, yours may not be anything out of the ordinary. But if it is what God wants you to do, then don’t waste time looking for something else. As the saying goes, bloom where you are planted.

3) Being too content with the status quo.

The flip side of mistake # 2 is to waste your time because you know God wants you to do something different, yet you resist. You feel comfortable and secure in your present situation. But it may be that you are just comfortable and secure in your sin. It is likely that one reason God has called you to something different is to move you into a place where you will trust him, a place out of your comfort zone, away from your idols to a place where you will become more like Jesus.

4) Pursuing a calling of your own making.

This happens whenever you don’t consult God at all (James 4:4). This goes one step beyond mistake #2. Perhaps because you have underestimated how important sanctification is, you have moved on to a place God has not asked you to go. And you still aren’t growing in your faith in the new endeavor.

5) Losing confidence in a clear calling from God.

This is a situation very unlike the others. Here you have obeyed God’s call for a specific task but what he asked you to do has not yet been accomplished even though years may have passed. The mistake is to doubt the calling instead of looking for confirmation of it. Remember where God has brought you, trusting his faithfulness. Stay the course. God will provide what you need.

Let’s be honest. Most of us are aware of a sin of commission or a sin of omission that God wants us to remove from our life, but sadly, for many of us, eliminating it is not high on our list of priorities. Following Jesus requires us to change our priorities to match God’s (Matthew 16:23). However you phrase it – to be holy because Jesus is holy (1 Peter 1:15,16), to be presented perfect in Christ (Colossians 1:28), to crucify the sinful nature (Galatians 5:24), to attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13), or sanctification, – your unique calling as a Christian is to be conformed to the image of Christ with ever-increasing glory and it is God’s plan and priority for your life (2 Cor. 3:18).

God sometimes asks people to do something out of the ordinary. But, most of us will live quiet lives out of public view. It doesn’t mean your calling isn’t important to God or leads to any less glory.

A Watch In the Night

watch in the night, Garapan

A thousand years in your sight
 are like a day that has just gone by,
 or like a watch in the night. Ps. 90:4

I remember my concept of time when I was a child. It went by slowly. On my seventh birthday my present was a fishing rod and tackle box ordered from the Sears catalog. (Remember those?) Every day I watched for the mailman hoping he would bring my package. It took six weeks to arrive. To me, it seemed like an eternity.

As a young child, I liked to think that it would be a long time before I would die. My grandparents and other “old” relatives were in their’ sixties and still very much alive and well. Sixty years seemed like a very long time to a boy still in his first decade of life.

Does time still seem to go by slowly for me now that nearly six decades have passed?

Not so much.

It’s going by at warp speed. Sometimes when there is a remembrance on television of an event that happened twenty years ago, I am stunned because it seems like the event happened only a few years ago. I once reminisced with a younger co-worker only to have him kindly remind me that he couldn’t relate because he hadn’t been born yet. It just didn’t seem that long ago to me.

I am beginning to understand what the Bible means when it says life is but a vapor.

However, coming to the realization that life is short doesn’t mean that time always goes by quickly. Our circumstances may be so unpleasant that time seems to stand still. We may cry out “How Long O Lord” when he is slow to bring justice1 or when it feels like God, distant and deaf to our cries, has forgotten us.2

It is especially during times of suffering and despair that we need perspective. We need to think about the fleeting nature of our lives. We need to be reminded to look forward to a glorious future with Jesus that is really not that far away when compared to eternity.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.    2 Corinthians 4:17

Viewed from the perspective of our temporal lives, our suffering is oftentimes anything but light and momentary. Our suffering is in the here-and-now. Eternal realities may seem dim, unable to be grasped. When we suffer a significant loss, especially for the first time, we wonder if the grief and sorrow will ever abate.  Yet we know that our Redeemer lives.  We have hope.

How should we live knowing that our present life is like a watch in the night compared to eternity?
All of us will one day enter eternity. One should not presume when that will be, like I did as a child.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15 NKJV3

Making presumptions, apart from God’s will, about how long we will live or what we will be doing is childish.   Worse still, it is foolish and prideful. When we go our own way and choose friendship with the world we demonstrate hatred toward God. God wants us to forsake our double-mindedness. He wants us to humble ourselves and submit to him; then he will give us grace and lift us up. (See James 4:4-10)

For the unbeliever, denying life’s brevity or adopting a “you only live once” mentality leaves them in a precarious position.  Their suffering won’t be relieved in eternity.  The here-and-now is as good as it gets for them and completing their bucket list won’t come close to offsetting an eternity filled with torment.  We must warn them.  We must warn them that this life is not all there is; eternity awaits.  We must warn them they will be punished with everlasting destruction for not obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus.4 We must warn them now and not be deceived into thinking that there will always be another day to tell them.

God has given us enough time. We should use it wisely.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Ephesians 5:15-17

Our life may be a vapor when compared to eternity, but God gives us enough time to find out what pleases the Lord and then he gives us enough time to do it, provided we make the most of every opportunity. It is possible to waste our life satisfying foolish desires.

The apostle Peter offers some ways we can use our time wisely:

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:7-10

If we are not spending time with other Christians, praying for them, loving them and serving them, then we are not using our time wisely. It is not God’s will that we live isolated from those he calls us to serve. To not use our spiritual gifts is more than a tragedy of disobedience; it is a denial of the truth that God has prepared, in advance, good works for us to do.5

We should trust God in the midst of our troubled world because he will fulfill his promises. His timing is perfect.

God is not slow in keeping his promises;6 it just seems that way to us. God’s plans are perfect. Our understanding of them is not.  God will keep his promises to you and me.  He will keep them through good times and bad.  Some we will see fulfilled in this life, others in the next.  Should we live long enough to see the end of days with all of its tribulation we must remember that God sent his Son in the fullness of time7 and that Jesus will return at the perfect time.

We should fix our eyes on what is unseen and not lose heart.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Let us throw off the temporal perspective that hinders us from running the race God has marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus so that we will not grow weary and lose heart.8

Our lives are but a watch in the night. In the morning that follows we will behold the beauty of the Lord. Forever! Let’s live like we believe it.



  1. See Psalm 35:10-18; Revelation 6:10
  2. See Habakkuk 1:2; Psalm 13:1
  3. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
  4. See 2 Thessalonians 1:8,9
  5. See Ephesians 2:10
  6. See 2 Peter 3:9
  7. See Galatians 4:4
  8. See Hebrews 12:1,3


The Love of Many Will Grow Cold

cold winter scene

I feel it sometimes. Cold, heartless evil.  It’s all around. It’s dark and ugly. It’s chill penetrates to the bone.  I felt the cold when I heard of the murder of twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  I feel it when I read about ISIS beheading and crucifying Christians. The darkness draws close with countless other events reported on the nightly news.

We all feel the cold.  Most of us will never experience it like the parents of those twenty children killed at Sandy Hook. Nor will we feel it like young children caught in the nefarious web of sex trafficking.  But it is palpable nonetheless.

If we aren’t careful, this cold will penetrate our own hearts and disable our love.  Perhaps it already has.  I am not suggesting we will commit some horrible, evil act.  But, as lawlessness increases, we can easily let fear reduce our compassion and acts of kindness to a level that is almost undetectable.

It is prudent to avoid dangerous situations, but our fear might cause us to choose our ministry based on risk level rather than on what God is prompting us to do.  We choose something safe. When we do, it may be that our love has already started to grow cold.

When the aids crisis was at its peak, many of us, myself included, were afraid to minister to those afflicted.  The thought of being a part of an inner city or prison ministry is terrifying to many Christians.  Now, with muslim refugees among us, many will be afraid to reach out to them.

Years ago I sat in the Latin American Missions guest house in San Jose, Costa Rica with ten career missionaries listening to stories and discussing various topics.  One man asked this question – who has been robbed at gunpoint in San Jose?  I (the sole member of the group who wasn’t a career missionary) and a young missionary who had been in San Jose for just a few months were the only ones in the room who hadn’t.  What if these missionaries and thousands like them had let fear of real danger cause their love to grow cold?

What if the apostle Paul, for whom seemingly nowhere was safe (2 Cor. 11:23-33), had let his love grow cold?

I have noticed a recurring theme whenever I feel afraid of the evil that is around me.  I have usually forgotten God, his promises and his providential care.

It’s not that evil will never harm us if we are God’s children; the Bible affirms that God allows suffering in our lives.  But God and Satan have different goals in suffering.  God wants to strengthen our faith.  Satan wants to destroy it.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:7-11

Fear and love are incompatible.  Perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:15) So what gives?  How is it that we are fearless one moment, resting in God’s love, and in the next full of dread and worry?  Perhaps it is because somehow we equate suffering with a failure of God to keep his part of a bargain we imagine he has made with us.

What is the proper response of the Christian to the evil around us?  Yes, we must protect ourselves and loved ones from evil as best we can.  Among the wolves we must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.  (Mt. 10:16) But we should not succumb to fearing what evil men do.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:28-33

What if we simply took Jesus at his word and chose to obey him?  What if we stopped worrying about the evil in the world and instead found God’s peace through prayer and by thinking about what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable (Philippians 4) resisting the devil’s attempts to convince us to do otherwise?

We would lessen the risk of our love growing cold.  We would be freer to store up treasure in heaven instead of treasure on earth.  We would be freer to love our fellow Christians, spread the gospel, love our enemies, go the extra mile and help the man beaten and robbed lying on the side of the road.

In times of tribulation, there are two kinds of people.  There are those whose love grows cold and those who stand firm in their faith.  Those who persevere in their faith will be eternally saved. (Mt. 24:12-13) God intends for his elect to persevere. He who began a good work in you will complete it. (Phil. 1:6)  Be encouraged by this truth.

As lawlessness and persecution increase and as we see the Day approaching, let us hold fast to our faith and spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  (Hebrews 10:23-25)