Jesus told us that, in the last days, the world would harden in its sin and ostracize those who stand for His Gospel.
3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.Okay, most evangelicals probably downplay this passage in favor of Scriptures promising God's blessings, and more uplifting verses would make a much nicer way to usher in 2015. And I just finished drawing an adorable panda, which I really could post today with the light-hearted explanation of why he wears red socks.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. ~~Matthew 24:3-14 (ESV)
Truthfully, I'd rather share my little panda. But I believe today I need to acknowledge that our world grows dark as cultural Christianity loses its restraining influence on Western Civilization. We can't ignore the truth much longer: our world wants nothing to do with the God of the Bible, nor does it have any tolerance for those of us who proclaim Him.
In stating this truth, however, I hasten to add that the very gravity of the situation should stir our hearts to declare the Gospel with renewed conviction. Whether people turn to Christ or not (and we should earnestly pray that He will soften hearts to receive His Word), the Lord calls us to tell people that He offers the only way of salvation. Instead of wringing our hands over the encroaching spiritual darkness, we can allow that darkness to motivate us to share the light of the Gospel. These dark days give us opportunities to shine.