"Worse and Worse, Better and Brighter"
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived" (II Timothy 3:13).
We are in such days, aren't we? Which means that godly people and beacons of the truth must grow better and brighter, shining as lights and growing in the illumination of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ… As ye have received us of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more" (II Peter 3:18, I Thessalonians 4:1).
Ever growing darkness should trouble, grieve, and alert us. Sin is sin, people are hurt by it, and God's grace in Christ is ignored or rejected as the evil "wax worse and worse." However, an opportunity awaits us in the darkness. Just as the moon shines most brightly against the backdrop of the blackest night, so do believers most vividly glimmer in the midst of gloom. The privileged responsibility first lies in our countenance, demeanor, attitude, and ways of relating to people as people. "How can the unselfish love of Christ be known through me in this day as I relate to family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and those I encounter along the pathways upon which I will journey?" This question must be paramount in our hearts and minds as we devote ourselves to God for the benefit of those He loves, namely, the people in our lives. "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor" (Ephesians 5:2).
The Apostle Paul closes his epistle to the Philippians with the cryptic benediction: "all the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household" (Philippians 4:22). Paul references his imprisonment under Caesar, and also his influence for the Gospel in the midst of a dark place. Clearly, the Apostle led people to the Lord Jesus in his venue of confinement. How did he do so? By preaching and teaching Christ, of course. However, it was also required of Paul to live Christ, as it were. Had our brother failed to shine in attitude, word, and deed because of the difficulty of prison, no one of Caesar's household would have listened to his message. I often think of Paul in this context. I love his history and teaching, as presented in the book of Acts and the epistles. However, I love even more the Christlikeness that most surely characterized his character, demeanor, attitude, and life of self sacrifice. Paul's Gospel was the heart of the matter, and "the power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1:16). His life, however, served as the Light of Christ shining in the darkness that enabled sinners and saints to see the truth he proclaimed. The same is true in our lives, especially in these days wherein the evil "wax worse and worse." What an opportunity for God's trusting sons and daughters in Christ to shine better and brighter.
"And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men."
(I Thessalonians 3:12)
Weekly Memory Verse
But God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.