Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Watchful Anticipation

               We live in an uncertain time. Day after day I read, hear or listen to someone talking about the fall of our economy, the eminent threat of terrorist attacks; the threat of something all the time is crossing our paths. And, as Christians, we are not and should not be surprised by the state of the world we live in. The whole world is set on a course for one thing, “The Day of The Lord.”
                This morning, as I was praying, my heart was tugged by the Holy Spirit, with a sense of urgency to pray for my loved ones who do not know Jesus. A sense of “the end is near” came into my heart, and I poured out before the Lord my heart’s desire to see my sister, my dad, my nieces and nephews, my son and all my children bowing down before Him and giving their lives to Him. I began to understand that the time is drawing near, and as I prayed, a passage of scripture came into my heart.
                “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, get 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. Therefore, comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
                There is a wrath that is coming. The Day of the Lord is approaching, and as I read these verses my heart was pricked. I had to ask myself, “Christian, how are you living? Are you living in readiness and watchfulness or are you living as if the day is still afar off?” Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:42 “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” And I don’t. It could be today, it could be next week, or it could be 50 years from now. But one thing I know, it is coming, and as a Christian, as a child of God I am to be watching for it, and prepared for the day to come.
                I once saw a sign along the highway that said, “I am coming. Are you ready? - God.” I didn’t think much of it, because I was not a believer at the time, but after I gave my life to Jesus and I began to understand that this world is coming to an end, and no amount of environmental hocus pocus is going to change the fact. Because, God will pour out His wrath and His judgment upon the sins of man. If you are a Christian, you will escape this day, but if you are not, there is no escape. The day is coming. You can deny it or you can accept it and wait in hopeful expectation of it. The choice is always ours.
                But there was more to the verses that I read this morning, than just a warning that the Day is coming and will come. There is an exhortation, and encouragement, a sense of urgency for us as Christians to live our lives each and every moment as if the Day of the Lord is today. Can I say that I live that way? No, not in all honesty, there are days where I am caught up in my own selfish desires and forget that the Lord could come back any minute. What would He find you doing if He were to come back today? That is a good question to ask oneself.
                We, as Christians are to live our lives in anticipation of His imminent return. Paul urges us to be in a state of watchfulness at all times. Watchfulness means that we are alert to what is going on around us. Jesus urges us to be ready, for He will come. We are to be in a constant state of readiness, we are to be alert, watchful and prepared for the happenings around us. “God’s people are exhorted to be ready for warfare (physical and spiritual), death and the second coming of Jesus Christ. All humanity should be ready for future judgment.” (Asbury Bible Commentary)
                There is no escaping the Day of the Lord. And we have to ask ourselves if we are ready for it? Am I living in such a way, that if the Lord Jesus came back today, at this very moment, I would be ready? “Vigilance is not a zealous attempt to read the ‘signs of the times’. Rather it is a life lived in faithfulness. The children of light are already children of (future) salvation. The alert Christian will be fully armed with faith, love and the hope of salvation.” (Asbury Bible Commentary)
                Are we living as if the Day of the Lord is approaching? When I ask myself that question, I have to stop and refocus, because to be totally honest with my Lord God, there are times when I am living more for myself than I am for Him. It is what and who we are when we are alone that matters to God. For our lives, lived in secret, Jesus Christ will bring to light. Who we are when no one is looking- that is who we are before God. He sees in the secret of our hearts, of our thoughts and our actions. Who we are on Sunday can be an act; it is who we are in the quiet, in the secret parts of our beings that God sees. Jesus is coming back, and He will come back, what will He find us doing?
                “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” Revelation 16:15. Be ready, Christians, be watchful, and may we live with such faith and hope of His coming that it permeates every area of our lives. May we live a life in readiness, and in faithfulness to the promise of His future salvation, life eternal with Him, Lord Jesus, Come. Amen and Amen.