Which part of the book of Revelation are we living today? It’s the question we’re all thinking when we wake up. It seems like we hit a new dimension of not only a pandemic but a cultural crisis daily.
How do we face the current trials, battles and landmines? We need guidance more than ever. Here’s how to survive the Apocalypse in three simple-but-not-easy-steps.
01 Let God be God.
Have you asked yourself at any point through out this season: “Why does it seem like people are SO sure they know exactly the right way to respond to (fill in the blank): the global pandemic, foreign affairs, police brutality, a culture war, the local and federal government, and even murder hornets?
Here’s why: everyone thinks that they are God.
Where do we get this elevated sense of self? Each of us under the sin of Adam is born with a fallen nature that wants God’s throne. Theologian D.A. Carson defines sin as the "De-Godding of God.”
That was the original temptation Satan employed. To paraphrase Genesis Three, Satan essentially hissed: "Eat this fruit and you’ll be like God. You’ll see good and evil on your own terms". The temptation was to divine mutiny.
We were made to submit to our Creator and live under His Word. By nature and choice, we now attempt to dethrone our Creator and deny His Word.
That’s why Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and everything in-between feel like a battlefield of opinions. People count themselves gods. Posts are the gods disseminating their truth to the masses. When someone posts something that the gods don’t like? Well, they pour out wrath in the comments. This is the new mob mindset. And it’s proof that humans make terrible gods.
Instead, we must repent and let God be God. How? Embracing humility, dependence, surrender, and submission.
Psalm 86:7–8 In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.
We are desperate for God's God-ness. Why? When God is God other peoples' opinions matter less. We are freed from their approval and humbled to love and listen to those we disagree with. When God is on the throne we no longer have the right to hate those with whom we disagree. Instead we can pray for them.
When God is God we can embrace dependence. Christians and non-Christians alike will feel stress, anxiety, fear, and frustration in this season. The difference is, as believers, we don’t bear those things alone. The God of the universe bends his ear to listen to our prayers (Psalm 116:2). He even wants to engage YOUR heart as YOUR loving Father. Spend time unloading your concerns and listening to Him in prayer. A heart that’s dependent on God is at peace. It’s quick to listen to Him (and others), slow to speak, and slow to become angry. When we let God be God we are freed of having to bear that weight ourselves.
If you aren’t a Christian: the first step is knowing Him. The offer to come and follow Jesus is open to all at anytime. Surrender to Jesus today and receive his forgiveness and peace.
02 Long for The Word.
Bad news abounds. We are saturated by an unprecedented amount of posts, tweets, hashtags, articles, and videos right now. Our temptation will be to let culture shape our hearts and minds. All we need to do is passively take it in. We’re all prey to this as we’re spending more time on our phones while there’s less to do.
In case you're wondering: that's a bad idea. It's not wise to passively consume culture’s thoughts and let it fill your heart. The world is not just ill-equipped to help you find rest for your soul in this season, it’s actively working to make you anxious, angry—and ultimately—undone.
Ephesians 2:1-3 teaches that there’s a real personal evil, named Satan, fueling the sinful world system to be at work against you. So, we shouldn’t eat a diet of the World’s ideas. Instead, Matthew 4:4 tells us:
 But [Jesus] answered [Satan], “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Satan attempted to tell Jesus what to eat in His desert trial, but Jesus refused to choke down his lies and instead was nourished by the truth of God's Word. Satan is offering you things to consume this season too. But what you need is Bible. If the sinless son of God needed to cling to the Word of God to endure His trial, then so do we.
When are you in the Word? Scripture is not an optional extra for the disciple of Jesus in the midst of a desert season. It’s an absolute necessity for survival.
I love the language of the 1 Peter 2:2:
"Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—"
It's not just reading the Word that's important, it's longing to read it! Do you want to hear God's voice? Or do you find yourself craving updates or gravitating to a social media app? The cliche is true: Garbage in, garbage out!
In a world that’s screaming opinions at you, you need to crank up the voice of the Lord to equal volume. In fact, why not let Him drown it out? What’s going to shape your mind? Other people, politics, or panic? Yikes. Renew your mind in God’s Word.
03 Lean into Others.
The message everywhere right now is “love looks like social distance". There’s truth to that. Keeping others safe is important. But there’s a flip side: it’s dangerous to be alone.
Isolation isn’t just sad, it’s spiritually unhealthy.
If the Bible’s true (and I’m prone to think it is) then there is a spiritual war being waged all around us. Good and evil are in an eternal battle and you and I are swept up in it. There is an unseen realm with unseen realities in conflict. Our souls are in the crossfire. We will either be conquerors or casualties. So, going it alone isn’t just a bummer, it’s a matter of life and death.
You need nearness during social distance. I’m not saying to hug strangers, defy guidelines, or buck the government. Don’t. Honor the government and protect the vulnerable. That’s what Jesus would do. BUT don't forget that while He did, Jesus never operated on His own. Jesus bound Himself intentionally to community.
What community? Glad you asked! He had 12 disciples. He discipled and sent the 72. He was near to an inner-three. Not to mention He practically sustained Himself in the presence of the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus was the infinite man, YET He never embraced isolation.
Genesis 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone…”
The direct context is marriage to Eve, but a doctrinally sound application would extend this principle to Gospel-community. What I mean is that this passage is telling YOU it’s not good to do life alone.
Are you in a City Group? Are you making time to do one-on-ones with other believers? Are you in community? Even if you must do phone calls and zoom! It’s not good for you to be alone.
The beautiful thing about being a disciple is you get to lean into others.
When the Gospel was preached in Acts two, a church of 3,000 was born. They were devoted to one another. That’s why the Bible’s language in the New Testament letters is almost always plural. When you read commands they are addressing groups of us. Why? Because we are made in God’s Trinitarian image for community. And what an awesome thing.
Psalm 133:1 how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
We are living through a little apocalypse. I don't want you to merely survive but to fully thrive. How? We move from surviving to thriving when we let God be God, long for the Word, and lean into others.