Luke 21:34-36 (NKJV) “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Let me be honest and truthful. When I read this passage almost a month ago, I did not know how much I needed to heed its admonition.
“But take heed to yourselves”
I kind of missed the “yourselves” as I thought on how much the body of Christ needs this admonition, in the times we are living in. At first, I began to muse on the implications this passage has for those I pastor, especially, how to communicate the truth contained in the text, but then four weeks passed with world-wide circumstances significantly impacting the bride of Christ; more than a few have become pressing on my own family.
Just a few days ago, I noticed a tiredness in my body, mind and emotions, that revealed I was “weighed down”. The phrase “weighed down” in the Greek language Luke’s gospel was written in, means to be overcharged or overfull.
It is an interesting phrase to say the least, especially when considering how we get to being overcharged or over full.
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life”
The Lord Jesus Christ is warning us not to become weighed down with carousing or being overcharged with the things of the world, the flesh, and the devil—Not to be overcharged or overfull with drunkenness or substances—not to be overcharged with the cares of this life.
When dealing with an overcharged battery, one would think, “great, that means more power on hand”, but that is a grave misunderstanding. When a battery is overcharged, the power cannot be called upon because the components of the battery turn on itself. The extra power will cause the battery to overheat, causing the content of the battery, sulphfuric acid and water, to boil and swell; even seeping out. If even a small amount of electricity passes through a battery in that state, an explosion could occur.
It is my opinion that this is a fairly accurate metaphor of what occurs in a Christian’s life when we are weighed down. Our lives get overwhelmed by something and rather than being “anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving we make our request to God, whereby we gain His peace” (Philippians 4:6-7), or “casting our cares on Him for He cares for us (I Peter 5:7), we stew and fall into a sinful pattern of thought and behavior.
If we do not catch it quickly enough then we are “weighed down” or overcharged. In this state, without even being aware, we can turn on ourselves, having our faith challenged with continual doubt and despair that leads to unbelief. Make no mistake about it, to have that occur is a spiritual explosion.
This is where I found myself, not at the point of spiritual explosion, but becoming “weighed down”. What was the event or events that brought this about? We can answer the question by returning to where Jesus commands all of us to “take heed of yourselves”. Context is everything.
Let’s begin by understanding that our Savior is speaking to the original disciples and sharing with them the events and timeline of the end times, culminating with the phrase “and that Day come upon you unexpectedly”. What was Jesus referring to?
The phrase “that Day” is clearly defined in both the Old and New Testaments in many different places including, but not limited to Ezekiel 7:19, 30:3; Joel 1:15, 2:11 and 31, 3:14; Amos 5:18 and 20; Obadiah 1:15; Zephaniah 1:7 and 1:14; Malachi 4:1. In these passages “that Day” is called “the day of the LORD’s wrath” or “the day of the LORD”. In the New Testament “that Day” is also referred to as “the day of the Lord”, “the day of Christ” and “the Day” (Luke 21:34-36; I Corinthians 1:8, 5:5; II Corinthians 1:14; I Thessalonians 5:2, 5:4; II Thessalonians 2:3 Hebrews 10:25).
In the Old Testament passages the focus is one, the day of the Lord is a series of events at the very end of the age, where God pours out His wrath on mankind in devastating supernatural events. In the New Testament “that Day” is the event which precedes the outpouring of God’s wrath, which is the rapture of the Church.
Our blessed hope, the appearing of our great God and Savior the Lord Jesus Christ for the purpose of bringing us to Him, is the closing of the door on the age of grace. We are not to be caught unaware of the signs and circumstances which proceed that day, we are to be prepared and looking for it.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-10 (NKJV) But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
That we ought to be comforted by the fact that we are not appointed to wrath, being among the redeemed of the Lord Jesus Christ, ought to cause us comfort. So why have I been feeling weighed down?
Returning to our original passage we must understand the context it was written into. The context is that of the Lord Jesus Christ explaining the times and signs proceeding His return. Among them are…
Luke 21:8-9 (NKJV) “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore, do not go after them. But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.”
The Lord declares that we are not to be terrified, for these things shall come to pass. Why the admonition? Because without our blessed Hope in Christ, these commotions would be unbearable, at best. Let’s look.
Luke 21:10-11 (NKJV) “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
We have every reason to believe these things are in line with Matthew 24:4-8, which Jesus defines as the beginning of the sorrows. Should we be alive on earth at this time, we will see these things and they are catastrophic, in fact some of these I believe are upon us. Yet listen to what our Lord reveals in the next 6 verses, where we discover that before these things (vs. 12)
- They will lay their hands on us and persecute us, delivering us up to the authorities and prisons ( 12)
- We will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake ( 12).
- Despite the trouble, it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. The Holy Spirit will give us the words we need to speak in the moment ( 13-14).
- We will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives, and friends; and they will put some of us to death ( 15).
- We will be hated by all for the sake of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ ( 17).
Let us agree that the church has been suffering these things since the day of Pentecost. The point is that as we draw nearer to the beginning of the sorrow’s events in Luke 21:8-11, the incidence and force of the persecution intensifies exponentially. Consider that the number of Christian martyrs has increased exponentially since Israel became a nation in 1948. In fact, the number of martyred Christians in the last 73 years has exceeded the amount of martyrs from the beginning of the church aged until 1948.
It is these realities that can overwhelm us, if we are not careful. This is Jesus’ point in admonishing us “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.
As I prayerfully considered why I was blue in spirit and fighting against anxiety, I had to admit, that the news reported moment by moment concerning the pestilence of our time (Covid-19) and the mandating of an unproven, ineffective, and potentially dangerous vaccine for this virus, is unsettling. In addition to that the potential of being shut out of society for refusing it is real. This reality is not just potential in America but occurring in Australia, Israel, Great Briton, Canada, and many European nations. This tyranny is the rule in most of the non-westernized nations, where these “vaccines” are available.
As I considered how these realities will affect how I provide for my family, I was tempted with sadness, fear, anxiety and was overcharged by the cares of this life. This continued until I laid hold of my hope in Christ and the reality that to be sober, means to watch for His return daily, adjusting my life in real times to what comes each day.
This is the point of our Lords admonition. Take heed, because the times we are living in are fearful, in fact so fearful it is raising the number of deaths from the number one killer in the world throughout the ages… heart failure.
Luke 21:25-26 (NKJV) “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Taking heed means we understand our proclivity to be taken by fear of what is to come, and we deal with it, by casting our care on Him (for He cares for us), through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6-7; I Peter 5:5-7).
If we do not, then we are targets for being weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and the cares of this life. When we fall into any of those, we may deaden the pain, but we can become ensnared in lethargy and insensitivity to the word of God and His Spirit, and unprepared for “that Day” of Christ’s return to rapture us. Which means we will be unworthy to stand before Him.
So let us take the admonition and obey the Lord. Difficult days are ahead, but so long as we keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray watchfully, we will endure till the end and see Him face to face. To do so we must seek the Lord and refuse to give in to fear about down the road days, as we are called to live one day at a time.
Luke 21:36 (NKJV) Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”