THE TIME OF TESTING – – TAKE COURAGE!
In these end-times it is more important than at any other time in your life to avoid the distractions of the World , its fears, concerns, and desires. Such things lead you back into blindness, and blindness to the wide gate where the road is broad that leads to destruction and many people are entering there.
The World is steeped in the lies of their father, Satan, the Father of Lies. They lie to each other, and they lie to you. They have exchanged the truth for a lie, and in their delusion they live lives of self deceit! Cast off the foulness of death, and let the dead contend with each other. Stop becoming unevenly yoked with unbelievers. What partnership can righteousness have with lawlessness? What fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony exists between Christ and Beliar, or what do a believer and an unbeliever have in common? What agreement can a temple of God make with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, just as God said: “I will live and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Therefore, ”Get away from them and separate yourselves from them,” declares the Lord, “and don't touch anything unclean. Then I will welcome you. I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters,” declares the Lord Almighty.
The goal of our faith, as Peter taught, is the salvation of our souls. This is our utmost goal, our top priority, and all else must be brought into submission in our lives to attain it! We must not turn to the left or the right, but stand firm to the end so that we may be saved. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field that a man found and hid. In his joy he went and sold everything he had and bought that field.”
Believers, you must accept that this is the hour of our testing, our refinement. Many will fall away from the faith during this testing, true believers will be rare. Dear friends, do not be surprised by the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. Instead, because you are participating in the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that you may be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.
Through faith you are being protected by God's power for a salvation that is ready to be revealed at the end of time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you have to suffer various kinds of trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, which is more valuable than gold that perishes when it is tested by fire, may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
We must stay on the straight and narrow path, for this leads to the narrow gate . . . . “How narrow is the gate and how constricted is the road that leads to life, and few are the people who find it!”
“Be careful! Watch out! For you don't know when the time will come. It's like a man who went on a trip. As he left home, he put his servants in charge, each with his own work, and he ordered the doorkeeper to be alert. So keep on watching, because you don't know when the master of the house is coming—whether in the evening, at three o'clock in the morning, or at dawn. Otherwise, he may come suddenly and find you asleep. I'm telling you what I'm telling everyone: Be alert!”
“You must keep your belts fastened and your lamps burning. Be like people who are waiting for their master to return from a wedding. As soon as he comes and knocks, they will open the door for him. How blessed are those servants whom the master finds watching for him when he comes!”
You cannot do any of this if you will not abandon the World. You must give up your life to gain everlasting life! Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me continually. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what profit will a person have if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what can a person give in exchange for his life? The Son of Man is going to come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay everyone according to what he has done.”
“In fact, everyone who has left his homes, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or fields because of my name will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
“None of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.”
Keep examining yourselves to see whether you are continuing in the faith. Test yourselves! You know, do not you, that Jesus Christ lives in you? Could it be that you are failing the test?
A brother of low status should boast in his exalted status, and a rich person in his lowliness, because he will fade away like a flower in the grass. For the sun comes up with its scorching heat and dries up the grass. The flower in it drops off, and its beauty is gone. That is how the rich person will fade away in his pursuits. How blessed is the man who endures temptation! When he has passed the test, he will receive the victor's crown of life that God has promised to those who keep on loving him.
From Outside Babylon