Throughout his tribulations, Paul remained in close relationship with the Lord and was obedient. As a result, he finished his race with victory. (Pixabay)

A recent NBC News/Survey Monkey poll found that 76 percent of Americans are worried that the U. S. will be engaged in a major war in the next four years. The percentage of Americans worried about the threat of war was up 10 percent from the last time the survey was administered, previously only 66 percent four months earlier. Americans, 41 percent of them, view North Korea as the major threat, followed by ISIS at 28 percent, Russia at 18 percent, China at 6 percent and Iran at 2 percent. Americans are rightly concerned, but there is no assurance that survey percentages reflect the risk of war or even if the countries identified will be the most dangerous countries in the future.

For example, a Zero Hedge article reported that Indian and Chinese tensions are rising over the disputed Sikkim border. Evidently, Indian troops have crossed the border and Chinese troops have engaged in live-fire drills which possibly killed Indian troops. The Global Times, a Chinese Party outlet, encouraged restraint but indicated that China would be willing to battle for the disputed land. Indian public opinion is favoring war with China. China has a population upwards of 1.3 billion, and India has over 1.2 billion. Each country has hundreds of nuclear weapons. Neighboring Pakistan is also a nuclear power. There is justification for apprehension.

Costs of health care, federal investigations, political intrigue, fake news, employment prospects and the increased divisiveness of the American population along political, cultural, racial and economic lines add to the concerns of Americans. The United States, and to some extent the world, has developed a coarseness where competing ideas are too often not tolerated. Even if not admitted, the root cause of most worries is security: physical, financial, emotional and social.

Born again Christians have eternal security. Salvation is a gift of grace and not of works. This is nothing that we have done, or could do, to earn our salvation. It is an act of love by God toward those that believe in Jesus.

"Truly, truly I say to you, whoever believes in Me has eternal life," (John 6:47).

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God," (Eph. 2:8).

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

But earthly security from the Lord is a function of our relationship with Him and obedience. He must be our Savior and our Lord. Jesus taught a parable about a wise man that built his house on the rock of relationship and obedience. Even though the rains descended, the floods came and the winds blew and beat against the house, it remained standing. In contrast, a foolish man built his house on the sand—not on relationship and obedience. When the forces of nature came against his house, it fell.

Whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it did not fall, for it was founded on a rock. And every one who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them will be likened to a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it fell. And its fall was great"(Matt. 7:24-27).

The Lord told His disciples not to worry about what they would eat, drink or wear. He explained that the Father already knows that they have need of these things. He then reminded them of how our heavenly Father takes good care of the ravens, the lilies of the field and the grass and that they were much more valuable than these. He promised that if they would seek the kingdom of God first and His righteousness, everything else would be provided.

Therefore, take no thought, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' (For the Gentiles seek after all these things.) For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you" (Matt. 6:31-33).

Jesus never promised that we would not have trouble in this life, only that we would have the victory. The wise man, who built his house on the rock of relationship and obedience, still experienced the rain, floods and wind, but his house was still standing—he had the victory. Similarly, Jesus taught that we will have tribulation. But we should be of good cheer because He has overcome the world—and He lives in us.

"I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Paul is an amazing example of the Lord's faithfulness in providing protection and security until the race is finished—until we complete all that we are called to accomplish. Paul should have been killed on many occasions. In Damascus, King Aretas sent an entire garrison of soldiers to arrest Paul, but he escaped in a basket through a window. In his ministry, Paul received 39 lashes five times, was stoned, in three shipwrecks, beaten with rods three times, spent a night and day in the deep ocean and suffered many perils from robbers, the Jews and false brothers. Throughout his tribulations, he remained in close relationship with the Lord and was obedient. As a result, he finished his race with victory. He wrote the majority of the New Testament. His example and writings have blessed hundreds of millions of people.

Christians have eternal security. Earthly security is dependent upon our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and our obedience. Let us live this life to the fullest. Let us experience the abundant life and the security which a significant life demands. Let us rededicate our lives to Jesus as Lord.

Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.

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