In the Meantime
A Biblical Perspective of Hollywood’s Apocalyptic Obsession
November 25, 2009 - End times fears aren’t just a subject of conversation for fables and people of faith. They’re also big business at the box office for Hollywood. Many people seem fascinated with the subject of “the end of the world.” Those of us who believe in Christ know how the story ends, but how are we supposed to live in the meantime?
2012, the latest film from Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, 10,000 B.C., The Day After Tomorrow), topped ticket sales during its opening weekend with a whopping $65.2 million. Using the folklore surrounding a Mayan calendar prophecy that the world will end in 2012 as a tenuous starting point, 2012 revels in the demise of the world. Entire states and countries are destroyed, lives are lost, and the basic qualities of humanity are called into question.
The Word of God tells us how it “ends.” If you are a believer in Christ, you have no reason to fear the end of the world.
But how should we live between now, and the time Christ returns for His bride (the church)? The Bible is full of instructions for this. Let’s take a look at a small piece of those instructions in John 15:9-11:
Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
In the original Greek, the word used for “abide” is meno. This means to “dwell” or to “remain.” By telling us to “abide,” Jesus instructs us to continue living as disciples. To stay steadfast in our faith. To be unwaivering. To be faithful in our pursuit of him, no matter what. To “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
Don’t let distractions and worries, such as the unknown time of when Jesus will return, keep us from seeking Him. After all, Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:13 that we “know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”
In this passage, Jesus tells us if we keep His commandments, we will remain in His love. Obedience to Christ equals friendship with Him. In fact, a few verses later (verse 14), he tells us, “You are My friends if you do what I command you.” When we obey, we not only have the benefit of His friendship. We have the benefit of freedom – freedom from worry and from consequences of sin, which is the opposite of obedience to God. Obedience is one of the keys to living the abundant life between now and the time He returns for us.
One of the wonderful things about freedom (as described in the previous paragraph) is that it allows us to choose our attitudes (and often our feelings). In verse 11, Jesus instructs us to obey so that our “joy may be full.” Because Christ defeated death on the cross, we can choose victory for ourselves by choosing to let Him save us and live in us. In the same way, we can choose to have an attitude of joy.
It’s easy to watch the news or even watch the breakdown of our own families or communities and become depressed about the state of the world. However, another wonderful thing about the freedom afforded us is that we don’t have to live in defeat. We are called to a higher standard. Live with the kind of joy that tells those around us that He “has overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Perhaps some of you reading this cannot fully abide, obey or choose joy because you have not yet trusted Jesus Christ for eternal salvation and daily deliverance. If not, please heed this invitation from Billy Graham:
“We who know the Lord are looking forward to His soon return, and we are assured that our future is in His hands. Perhaps you do not feel this assurance. The key is to realize that God made us so we could have a personal relationship with Him. This relationship gives us peace. The Bible says of God, ‘He will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You’ (Isaiah 26:3, NIV). No matter the troubles in the world, you can have peace with God.”
*All Scriptural references are taken from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.