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Interpreting the Present Time

Hypocrites! Notice the context in which Jesus uses that word in the following passage:

Luke 12:54–56 – He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?” (NIV)

Think about that for a moment. Do you know how to interpret the present time? I’m not talking about what the weather will be like (and neither was Jesus). Can you describe the spiritual condition of your family, church, nation, and ultimately the world? Can you interpret what is coming in terms of what God is doing in the earth?

Jesus called people “hypocrites” if they could interpret the weather but not the present time. I believe this is because He was recognizing a symptom of a deeper problem. Those people were more concerned with the natural realm than the spiritual realm. They studied science but not the Spirit. They attended to physical things but neglected spiritual things.

Many of us are great at interpreting trends in the stock market, weather patterns, potential business successes, attendance at events, and so forth. In our everyday lives, we interpret our budgets, we interpret what roads will have the least traffic based on known construction zones, and we even interpret whether or not we will have enough gasoline to get where we’re going.

We’re great at interpreting natural things, and there is nothing wrong with that. But how often do we focus on the spiritual things?

When is the last time you spent an hour in prayer? …or ten minutes? When is the last time you focused on consulting the Lord until you had clarity about the spiritual circumstances around you? When is the last time you had a firm handle on the spiritual climate—that which is happening spiritually in the lives of your family, your coworkers, your neighbors, your church, and so forth?

I’m not talking about having an encouraging word to speak that tries to influence the spiritual climate of those places. I’m talking about actually recognizing what is taking place.

I want to challenge you to spend time in the Lord’s presence today. Set your heart and mind on Him, and ask Him to help you interpret the present time. Start small—ask Him to give you insight into the “present time” regarding your own personal life. Once that is settled, move on to those around you—your family, workplace, church, city, state, nation, and even globally. Continue seeking God day after day until you have clarity about His purposes and actions in the world.

We learn to interpret the spiritual realm the same way we do the natural realm: through observation. It doesn’t happen overnight. Pay attention to events that follow other events. Take note of how the spiritual principles of the Bible influence the world around you. Spend time in the Word of God and notice prophecies being fulfilled today. Take note of things you think you may be sensing, and then see what actually comes to pass. And do all of this with an awareness of God’s nature and what He has already revealed about His good, pleasing, and perfect will for mankind.

Make the spiritual realm a focus of your life. Jesus says that those who only understand the natural realm are hypocrites.

God bless, –Art

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