“…97…98…99…100! Ready or not, here I come!” Remember that? I’m pretty sure there is not a single one among us who didn’t play Hide ‘n Seek at some time in their life. What fun it was trying to find places to hide where no one could possibly discover you. It did get a little difficult after about the 4th or 5th round, after all the good spots had been used. But, as they say, it was fun while it lasted.
Recently our family has had some discussions about getting “ready” for something a little different. No, make that a lot different. The Return of Jesus Christ. If you were to ask a fellow Christian what they are looking forward to, most would hopefully say Jesus coming back. I have to think if someone believes what the Bible says, they understand the only real answer to all the craziness in the world today is the coming of our King! But if we believe that, just what are we doing to “get ready” for that incomprehensible event?
Why Are We Here?
I’ve often said to people that the reason the Lord leaves us here, after accepting His saving grace by faith in Jesus, is for us to be His witnesses so others can be saved also. I absolutely believe that is true. It was, after all, what He said He wanted for His disciples in Acts 1:8. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.” However, I believe it is also abundantly clear that while we are being the witnesses He wants, He also wants us to get ready for when He is ruling His Kingdom here on earth.
Just what does that mean?
Now, I have to agree with the Apostle Paul when he wrote, “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6). But does that mean we sit back and do nothing? God forbid! He will certainly do His part, but I believe the part we play in getting ready for His return should be connected with His call for us to be His witnesses. Living our lives preparing for that day can actually be a greater witness to the truth of Christ in us than any Gospel presentation we could possibly give. The problem is, not many people know what to prepare for.
One of our favorite holidays in our family is Thanksgiving. As the calendar turns to November the preparations begin for that special day of celebration. Our grandkids put up a “Thanksgiving Tree” as a giant wall decoration and cut out a pile of leaves for everyone to write what they are thankful for and put them on the tree limbs. As the day gets closer, plans are made for the delicious meal we will get to enjoy. How big should the turkey be? Will we have stuffing, perogies AND mashed potatoes with gravy? Corn or beans? What kind of cranberries? Who’s making dessert? Apple pie? Pumpkin pie? Both? Don’t forget the pecan pie…or the rolls in the oven! And don’t forget the invitations to the ones who will come and help eat all that wonderful food! Yes, much preparation to be sure. The same applies to our preparation for the coming of our King.
Don’t Get Distracted!
Now there are a few things I have never seen in all our preparations for Thanksgiving. No one wraps presents. No one buys a bunch of fireworks to set off. No one carves any pumpkins. There are never any streamers and funny glasses with the year on them. No shamrocks or green derbies. No fancy decorated eggs and no red hearts. When it comes to Thanksgiving, we know what we are preparing for! We don’t get distracted from our preparations. I wonder if we can say the same when it comes to preparing to be with Jesus? Have we gotten distracted? Do we even know what to prepare for? It would seem there are some who may not know.
He Does Have A Plan For Us!
Some people joke about sitting around on clouds and playing harps when they get to heaven. But the Bible says we will live and reign with Jesus Christ in His kingdom, that we will be priests unto Him, and we will judge the world and angels (Rom. 6:8; 2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 5:10; 20:6; 1 Cor. 6:2-3)! Think about that for a minute. How many of us can say we are prepared for that responsibility?
The Apostle Paul said, “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). Likewise we know that, as believers, the Spirit of Christ lives in us (Rom. 8:9). If this is true, doesn’t it make sense that we should at least try to think and act like our coming King? “Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children. Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance” (Eph. 5:1-2). “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (Heb. 6:11-12).
Let’s Not Forget!
Have we become lazy in our walk of love? Who are we really imitating? In the last days Paul says people will have “a form of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:5). Is it possible we have forgotten Who lives in us and Who’s mind we are to have? Do we deny the power of Christ in us? “I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). “The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6). Like the rolls in the oven, could we have forgotten this?
Let me be clear: We cannot do anything to earn our way to heaven! We are saved by God’s grace alone through faith in Jesus (Eph. 2:8-9). And we are KEPT by Him until the day of our redemption (1 Pet. 1:5). But God’s crystal clear instruction is we ARE to be doing something to prepare for when we get there. Don’t forget, we are going to be WITH Jesus! “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Col 3:4). Again, we are going to rule with Him as judges and priests! That’s His plan for you and me! So if that is what He has planned for us, why not start getting ready for it now? This could be the time to begin, and we just might save ourselves a little embarrassment in the future. “So now, little children, remain in Him, so that when He appears we may have boldness and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” – 1 John 2:28. May God bless you all!
Lord, help me to learn to be more like You every day. Amen.