Discerning the signs of the times
I’m thankful for the opportunity to provide some of my thoughts on the concept of discerning the signs of the times. I did not come up with this concept. Jesus declared in Matthew 16:1-2, “He answered and said to them, ‘When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red;’ and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.”
For context of this passage, please understand Jesus’ response is delivered after the religious leaders of those times asked for him to provide a sign with the intent to test him.
I have often prayed for more insight into the meaning of this passage of scripture. As I prepared to write this journal that concentrates on faith and community, I started to identify the connection with that topic and this passage of scripture. I’m a pastor at heart, and one of the gifts that comes with that calling is being a good listener, among other things.
I have listened to people from several different walks of life. I’ve listened to friends, family and fellow Christians express their journey of faith so far. I thought of them when reading the scripture referenced and I noticed Christians are experts in discerning worldly aspects in our culture that doesn’t align with Godly attributes but when it comes to examining ourselves, too often we miss it. Maybe it’s time for Christians to look among one another and be open to the correction the Lord is revealing to us in our current times.
Throughout the scriptures, Jesus reserves his most stern and direct teaching for those within the faith, not those in the world. I’m convinced that the reason we see our communities in disarray is due to the weakness of Christians, and not the evil in the world. Christians no longer reason over the scriptures, pray in authority and yield to the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Christians are called to live a surrendered life to Christ but often times it’s more like incorporating Christ into our lives when convenient for us.
I should explain that for me this journey of faith with Christ started in 2012. I struggled with many issues such as depression, loneliness, and anger which I attempted to mask with drinking alcohol. My wife and I also started to attend a church in 2012. I did not have any great motivation or expectation other than it’s what you do when you start a family. I’m so thankful that God had more than I could ever hope or imagine in store for me. I responded to a challenge to seek Christ personally and wholeheartedly. Before long this Christ I had heard about all my life became living and active in my life, which led to transformations in my inner person. Christ provided a fulfillment and healing in my soul which drives and motivates me to live out a daily life.
As I have continued an active pursuit of Christ in my daily life I continue to see what the Bible proclaims Christians should see. Through this experience I have discerned that this is what is needed to truly see our friends, family and community transformed. The transformation must first take place on the inside of us, which only comes by pure devotion to Christ. The verdict is in on living off of another’s faith or expecting leaders in the local church to do all the work. The verdict is “not effective.”
My hope is this article would not be perceived as a call out but rather a call up to the plan God has placed on all who call Christ their Lord and Savior. I hope and pray that we would all take time to reflect on this topic so we can mature in our faith.
Ron Davis is the pastor of Kingdom Life Fellowship.