What Will You Do before the Window Closes?

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We here in the United States of America have enjoyed a long open window of religious liberty. I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I think we’re fools if we think that window is going to stay open forever. This isn’t kingdom come, and it never will be.

If the Jews in Germany in the early and mid 1930’s had known what would happen in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, I think many of them would have adjusted their priorities accordingly. I suspect there would have been a great deal more focus on getting themselves and anyone they cared about out of Germany before the window of opportunity closed.

What I’m saying is that we here in the States have a gospel window of opportunity. It isn’t illegal to be a Christian, yet. It isn’t illegal to assemble with other Christians for worship, yet. It isn’t illegal to evangelize, yet. It isn’t illegal to distribute Bibles, yet.

If you knew that all those things would be illegal within a decade–and I’m not saying they will be, but I bet the Jews in Germany in the early 1930’s thought Auschwitz was an unbelievable impossibility–if you knew Christianity would be illegal in a decade, would your priorities change?

Would you kill your cable subscription and leverage that money for the kingdom? Would you watch fewer Hollywood-worldview-shaping time-wasters, that is, fewer movies and tv shows? Would you spend less time looking at catalogues displaying the world’s goods? And think of all the time we would save by turning from sin and walking in the path of holiness.

The window may not close within the next decade, but you won’t regret doing anything named in the previous paragraph. When we come to the end of our lives we will not rejoice that we spent our evenings in front of the television–even if we were watching things as innocent as sporting events.

The end of the year is a great time to ask ourselves some questions:

  • When we come to die, or when Jesus comes for us, with whom will we wish we had shared the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah, which pays the penalty for sin and opens the path to reconciliation with God the Father?
  • When we come to die, or when Jesus comes for us, what time will we wish we had allotted for Bible study and prayer instead of whatever it was we did to diddle our days away?
  • When we come to die, or when Jesus comes for us, in what ways will we wish we had invested ourselves in the ministries of our local church, or in the lives of the people in our local church, instead of going shopping or aimlessly surfing the web again?
  • When we come to die, or when Jesus comes for us, what great works of literature–epic poems, plays of Shakespeare, novels, poetry, and short stories–will we wish we had read instead of reading ephemeral blogs or playing with the latest new feature of Facebook?

Take stock of your life and the way you spend your time. Look at the window. It might not be open that much longer, and Jesus is definitely coming back:

“Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom 13:11-12, ESV).

We live in a fearful and cowardly time. The crisis we face is not a crisis of clarity but a crisis of courage.


About Russell Moore

Russell Moore is Public Theologian at Christianity Today and Director of Christianity Today’s Public Theology Project.