Richard Blackaby: The Christian’s Attitude Toward the Future
January 13, 2010 - The future is an intriguing phenomenon. People from all walks of life are universally fascinated by what lies ahead. Are storm clouds looming or will there be sunshine? Is misery or prosperity on the horizon?
By Richard Blackaby
The media spends hours forecasting and analyzing the future. Pundits foretell dire consequences from global warming and fanatical terrorist attacks. Prognosticators suggest the world’s economy will usher in widespread job losses that could devastate entire regions of the world. Crime, drug and divorce rates are on the rise.
Here in America, degenerating morals lead many to foresee a post-Christian country, with approaching persecution for Christians.
A Gloomy Future?
Will these predictions come true? Christians must consider this question. In gathering our evidence, however, we should not merely turn to the media experts. We must open our Bibles. This is what Jesus said:
“Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars … for nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. … Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:4-7, 9-12, NKJV).
Grab a pen and underline the things Jesus said would happen in the last days. Are any of the things you’ve listed already happening? In light of Jesus’ prediction, how do you feel about the future? Are you confident, hopeful and excited, or are you frightened, confused and anxious?
Fortunately, God is consistently and relentlessly carrying out His divine purposes for the future. During a dismal time in the Apostle John’s life, he encountered the risen Christ on the Isle of Patmos. This is what Jesus showed the apostle concerning the future:
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. … And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. … Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. … Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth. … And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 20:11-14, 21:1,3-5, NKJV).
Now underline what Scripture declares is the ultimate destination of human history. How then should Christians view the future, especially in our current times?
There will be difficult times ahead. How will living the Christian life become increasingly challenging? As the world chooses to embrace evil, ungodly values will inevitably collide with the Christian life. Ridicule and persecution are inevitable. Already we see this in the way Christians are portrayed in popular culture and in the persecution they suffer around the world. But thanks be to God, this is not the end of the story!
Scripture never presents the Christian life as an enchanted fairy tale. But God has already written humanity’s final chapter, and His Word describes our future in breathtaking and beautiful detail. If you are anxious or afraid about the future, don’t be! God is in control!
Take some time after you’ve studied these Scriptures to compile a list of responses you intend to make concerning the future. You could include things such as: place my total trust in God; believe that He is in control; carefully read my Bible so I am prepared for what is coming; live my life in a way that encourages others to place their trust in the God who controls the future.
Don’t forget to include the responses that you intend to avoid, and remember that God holds the outcome of the world in the palm of His hand.
©2010 Richard Blackaby
Richard Blackaby is president of Blackaby Ministries International, blackaby.org.
The Cove seminar, Obedience in a Threatening World, by Richard and Henry Blackaby, is available on CD from Ruth’s Attic, BGEA’s online bookstore. Go to billygrahambookstore.org for other helpful resources for Christian living.