Although self-defense, food storage, and healthcare are biblical principles, God has not instructed His people to prepare for the future with guns, food, and medicine. Instead, Jesus instructs us to stand firm in our faith amid a hostile culture of wickedness and to prepare for spiritual deception:
“Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. … Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant and everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 24:4–5, 9–13).
Anyone who spends more time preparing for the future with guns, food, and medicine than preparing their faith for times of adversity is disregarding God’s revelation. If we wish to be faithful to Jesus, then our primary concern ought to be preparing our minds and souls to discern spiritual truth and to stand firm amid a hostile culture of wickedness. Only after we have begun to address this primary threat should we focus on secondary threats, such as emergency food, shelter, and safety.
Being adequately prepared to stand firm through times of difficulty involves more than ensuring that we can fill our stomachs. We need to prepare to feed our souls as well. Are we as intentional about collecting good Bible study resources as we are about storing food? Are we as intentional about familiarizing ourselves with God’s Word as we are about familiarizing ourselves with our weapons? Are we as intentional about applying God’s truth to life issues as we are about learning medical applications?
Like Timothy, we should take the necessary steps to “be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not” to “preach the word of God” and to “patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage” others with God’s truth (2 Tim. 4:2). Similarly, let us aspire to so internalize the apostle Paul’s final advice to the Thessalonians that it becomes second nature to us, whether we are experiencing times of peace or times of difficulty:
Honor your leaders in the Lord’s work. … Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil” (1 Thess. 5:12a, 13–22).
If we struggle with any part of this list in times of peace and stability, then we have little reason to believe we will stand firm in those areas during times of difficulty. However we choose to prepare for the future, let us prioritize internalizing this list so that we can stand firm regardless of our circumstances.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Biblegateway.com.