Monday, October 19, 2009

Knowing Christ (Part III)

Therefore be alert, since you don't know what day your Lord is coming. But know this: If the homeowner had known what time the thief was coming, he would have stayed alert and not let his house be broken into. This is why you also must be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
Matthew 24:42-44 (HCSB)

Icon second coming Via Wikimedia commons After 2000 years is it much more difficult to be in watchful anticipation of the Lord's return.  Part of that is the time that has passed, and part is do to the many false prophets that have predicted his coming and we have seen the date come and go.  This passage here clearly indicates that the day of our Lord's return is a mystery.  However, it also indicates that we are to live in a perpetual state of readiness for his return. 

I think of when I was a kid when I was waiting for someone to come pick me up.  I would wait in the living room watching for the car.  There was anticipation of getting to see them arrive.  My bags were packed and they would drive up and I would be ready to go.

This is a bit different than being ready for Jesus' return.  We do not have any luggage to take with us, nor does he expect that we are staring up at the sky wondering, "When will He get here."  Readiness has more to do with what Jesus will be finding you doing when he returns.  I think of another time when my brother and I had messed up the house while my parents were gone for a while.  We knew they were going to be gone for a while so we relaxed.  When we realized that the time was short for their return then we got the house in order.  That is how it is with Christ.  We should perpetually have our house in order so that we are prepared for his return. 

What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:21-23 (NKJV)

There are three things that would leave a person unprepared for Jesus' return.  First would not having a relationship with Him.  When Jesus returns he will gather those that have a relationship with him.  Those that do not will be "left behind."  Second for those that have a relationship with him to be caught up in some habitual sin.  This sinning on and on destroys our intimacy with Christ.  In some ways living in anticipation of His return is preventative of habitual sin.  When you ask yourself, "If Jesus were to return at this moment would I be honoring him?" it keeps you from those things that would make you ashamed!  The third thing that keeps you from being prepared is actively doing the things that God has prepared for you to do.  We should live every day to its fullest.  Not in anticipation of what will happen tomorrow, this weekend, next week, next month, next year, but rather in anticipation that this may be the last day we have.  This anticipation is not dread like one that has a terminal illness seeking to get all the things done they ever wanted to do, but is life and life to its fullest in anticipation of greater things yet to come. 

Instead, you should say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So it is a sin for the person who knows to do what is good and doesn't do it.
James 4:15-17 (HCSB)

I must admit I have much growing to do in the area of anticipating our Lord's return.  So much of my life is guided by what I will be doing days and weeks from now.  I hope that today I can begin afresh living for today, planning for tomorrow (Lord willing), anticipating our Lord's return at any moment, and be doing good when he does that I might receive honor and give him glory.