Ready or Not
What kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
2 Peter 3:11-13
I was recently down in the basement sorting through Christmas gifts. Yes, you read that right: Christmas gifts. I shop year round to avoid holiday traffic, long lines, and to take advantage of deals I spot any time. I truly enjoy giving gifts, and I like to have plenty of time to find the perfect something for each person I give to. As I was sorting and making a mental note of who I still have left to shop for, it got me thinking... am I as prepared for eternity as I am for Christmas this year?
It is easy to live our lives each day getting caught up in our work, family life, and taking care of the plethora of responsibilities we have, all of which makes it easy for us to lose sight of that eternal perspective. We aren't here to just live a nice life on earth, to have fun, acquire wealth, and do good. The Bible mentions often the idea of being ready because death is guaranteed (Ecclesiastes 7:2), and Christ's return will come like a thief in the night (2 Peter 3:10). However it is we leave this earth, we need to be ready. Ready to meet our Maker.
But, what exactly does it mean to be ready?
The verses below give us a glimpse into what it means to be ready for His return and the heavenly place that Jesus prepared for us.
John 14:6 - "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"
Follow Jesus. He is the only way. It is made clear many times throughout His earthly ministry that eternal life was dependent on being His follower. Ready means that you believe in Jesus and have a relationship with Him. Jesus wants to know you, dwell in your heart, and spend an eternity with you. He went to the cross for us, conquered sin and death for us, rose from the grave for us, all so that we might live eternally and have an abundant life.
2 Peter 3:14 - "So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this [Jesus' return], make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him."
Being ready means we're living righteously. I appreciate that this verse doesn't say we have to be perfect, but rather that we are making the effort to be more like Him. God never expects perfection (*sigh of relief*), and that certainly isn't how we gain eternal life, but we should do our best to not give into sin and temptation. We should do our best to live as imitators of Christ (Ephesians 5:1-2).
Matthew 24:45-46 - “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns."
Be faithful and wise. That's the lesson this parable teaches us about being ready for Christ's return. This is the kind of person we should strive to be as believers desiring an eternity with God. Faithful to follow His ways, faithful to obey His commands, and faithful to journey the path God has for you. Wise to fear God. Wise to pray for and desire God's wisdom over the wisdom of the world.
For some it can be scary to think about Jesus' return; for life as we know it to conclude. It's normal to fear the unknown. And though I recall feeling worried about what eternity will be like, I'll admit that I look forward to it now. I'm past the fear because it's going to be amazing. There's no pain, no injustice, no sin, no corruption, no heartache, no loss in heaven. To be in the presence of the Most Holy One will be nothing short of glorious and completely satisfying. We've truly nothing to fear about an eternity with the Lord.
The Lord loves you and He wants you to spend an eternity with Him. He is patient in delaying His return so that none may parish (2 Peter 3:9) -- what comfort and hope we have in Him! He doesn't want any sheep to be lost and that includes me and you.
This Week’s Reading Plan
As you read the following passages this week, ask yourself these questions:
1) What verse comforts me that I can commit to memory?
2) What word or phrase stands out?
3) What am I learning about God from this? 4) How can I apply this to my life today?
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Author: Pamela Palmer
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