Every year it is a battle for me on how to stake my tomatoes. Granted, I am no grand gardener, but I have tried it all- from gardening stakes to tomato cages. No matter what I try, I have difficulty getting the stake to stand firm. If they are not firm, the result is that they are not much help once the tomatoes grow and the plant gets bigger. The tomatoes don’t make it to the end of the season because the stand is not firm enough. The plant bends to the ground, eventually rotting.
Our faith is the same. Jesus, in a discussion with his disciples about the end times, discusses the very fact that as the end nears, those who are not standing firm, will fall. I didn’t have room above to put all the verses in context, but in between verses 10 and 13, Jesus talks about how the turning away from the faith will be due to persecution, false prophets deceiving people, increased wickedness in the world, and the love for him growing cold. Does any of this sound familiar? Can we look around our world and see Christians persecuted for their faith? (bakers, perhaps?) Can we see false prophets deceiving people? (Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer?) Is wickedness increasing? (transgender acceptance now being taught to kindergarteners?) Love for Christ growing cold? (empty churches around the world that used to be packed full?)
It seems apparent that at least some signs of the end times are surely here. Are we ready to stand firm? Standing firm will require persevering in our faith while it is challenged and maybe even through persecution. We must stand firm against false prophets and wickedness regardless of what is “politically correct”. We must check our own hearts and see what “temperature” we are running daily for Christ. Is He still our love? Does our time and money prove this fact true?
Standing firm will require that our stakes be very deeply rooted in Christ daily. This is the only way that we will recognize false teachers. God’s Word will teach us regularly to recognize and hate wickedness instead of being drawn to its empty promises. Being an integral member of a local church body will keep our love for Christ burning. These are some of the ways we can stand firm as time continues to draw near to the end. May we continue to produce healthy, abundant spiritual fruit until the very end, instead of having our faith slowly die due to no firm stakes to keep it strong and growing.