"But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty."
Normally, when we read words like that we think of natural disaster, storms, draughts, flooding....all things out of our control, but the words that Paul writes next are interesting.
"For people will be...."
It struck me that the difficult times will not be caused by God, but by man himself!
What follows those first words is a long list of how people will treat one another. In the last days the difficult days will be the result of people abusing other people! It will be a time when God "steps back" and let's us do as we wish....and the commentary of scripture is that these will be "difficult days".
When I read the list I can see why! Here's the rest of the passage from THE MESSAGE,
"people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals."
Sounds a bit like the world around us, doesn't it?
I can see how those would be difficult days if that's the community we live in. It sounds like a dystopia world, a "Mad Max" kind of community. It sure wouldn't be where I would want to live!
That's why it's so important that the disciple of Jesus Christ walks in love. As we love the people around us the contrast between us and the "MAD MAX" world around us will become surprisingly clear. That's why a simple verse like 1 Corinthians 16:14 is so important as I go through my days,
"Let all you do be done in love."
As we live lives that imitate Christ we will shine brighter and brighter and show the Christ we worship more clearly to a dying world around us.
"let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." -Mat. 5