Are we living in the last days? Jesus said that in the last days there would be wars and rumors of wars, natural disasters, persecution, and much turmoil (see Matthew chapter 24). Jesus had much more to say as well — for instance, the troubles listed above are just the beginning of the end — and many books of the Bible including Daniel and Revelation give additional insights regarding the last days.
With recent world events, people are keenly aware that we are living in the last days. We don’t know when all of the prophecies of the Bible will come to completion, but what we do know is we are closer than we have ever been. Chronologically, we are at least two thousand years closer to the end than were the first-century Christians, and those followers of Jesus lived their lives fully devoted to Christ because they knew that the end could happen at any moment.
When you realize that you are living in the last days, you will do things differently.
You will pray differently (v7). You will have a seriousness and full devotion to prayer. You will pray for the spiritually lost to be saved. You will pray for boldness to stand for Christ. You will pray for strength to endure. You will pray for others around the world. You will pray for God’s will to be done. You will not spend time on meaningless ritualistic prayers. You will not neglect prayer. You will be disciplined for prayer. You will pray differently.
You will love differently (v8). You will love others with unconditional love. Your forgiveness of those who have offended you will be so pronounced that that kind of love will cover over a multitude of sins. You will truly set aside hate and lust. You will demonstrate Christlike love to others. You will even love those who call themselves your enemies.
You will show hospitality differently (v9). In the first century, showing hospitality was vital. It was an important part of the culture on a daily basis when friends and family came to visit you, and it was even more important when travelers from out of town needed a place to stay for the night, such as those who were experiencing persecution for their faith in Christ. Today, people need to be shown hospitality also: a new neighbor, a recent widow, a new kid at school, that person you have “just been meaning to catch up with.”
The Bible tells us to show hospitality without complaining. That’s how Jesus would do it. When He got tired, He retreated to a quiet place to pray to the Father and recharge. It’s OK for you to do that too. But don’t neglect opportunities to show hospitality. You never know how those opportunities will impact lives for eternity.
You will use your gifts differently (vv10-11). People use their gifts and talents for a host of reasons. If you believe we are living in the last days, then you will concentrate on using your gifts to serve God and serve others. 1 Peter 4 describes two categories of spiritual gifts: speaking gifts and serving gifts. Speaking gifts include teaching, encouraging, words of wisdom, and words of faith. Serving gifts include helping, showing mercy, meeting needs, and giving.
What gifts has God given you, and how are you using them? Use them to serve others, glorify God, and advance His kingdom.
You will live your life to glorify God (v11). If you believe we are living in the last days, you will not seek to glorify yourself, institutions, governments, or any other worldly group. You will seek to glorify God. Your life will be lived to point people to Jesus. You realize that our time is short. The time is now to share the good news of Jesus with a lost and dying world. Live your life to glorify God.