The world today is complicated. It is unlike the culture and environment that surrounded many of us as children. Comparatively in today’s society there is no black and white, no right or wrong, no inner moral code of ethics and living.
I can only imagine this was a similar thought held by our parents and grandparents, going back in each generation over the last 100+ years. Through a culmination of decisions made by key law makers and political figures since the turn of the last century, as a nation we have progressively traded our individual rights and freedoms for the sake of imaginary safety and comfort. The older folks in each generation have had every right to recognize and say this fact. What once stood for centuries as our moral compass has now been replaced by the religion of diversity, and because it took us years to get here, no one recognized along the way what was taking place, where we were going, or where it was leading.
But the fact remains that America today is a far more complicated society than in generations past, and although we know God’s universe is not turned solely by what happens here, we are all left to wonder if the light of that shinning city on a hill is about to be snuffed out. Darkness appears more prevalent than ever.
Are we in the last of the last days? Is this the time that the one, main Anti-Christ will be ushered in? As the current government in place continues to stir the fires of fear, hate, and resentment, questions like these abound, and Christians are seeking real answers! The question of “Is Jesus coming back soon” I believe is answered with a resounding YES and needs not to be continuously pondered. Yes, He is, so get ready. The unanswered question is how should we get ready? How should we prepare?
Let me just say that I am not here to argue theology and theories based on what happens to Christians just prior to the Lord’s return (i.e. the rapture, pre or post tribulation, etc.). You can believe however you want about that. The fact is that no matter what theory proves to be true, the preparation for the Lord’s return does not change. It remains the same. And let me just say, it does not include selling everything to mentally “check-out” of an otherwise evil society and go sit on top of a mountain or in a safe zone to wait while evil consumes everything around us. No, we are called to push back the lines of darkness.
The mercy God shows to souls is on this side of heaven, not after we die. Jesus is waiting patiently for the Father to announce His return for a reason, and that is for the Father to allow every final soul the opportunity to see His salvation, and to know Him. Once He returns, there will be no more opportunity for that.
I believe the key to “getting ready” for the Lord’s return is the same key Paul used for contentment, as expressed by him in Philippians chapters 3 & 4, with verse 3:10 revealing the secret: “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering…”. To know Christ. Forsaking all else, to know Him intimately. To passionately, continuously, relentlessly know Him and pursue Him more!
How is this done? It is done through obedience born of love, both to the Holy Spirit and to God’s word (they will not conflict one another). We have it backwards when we think that God’s will for our lives is the end result, the destiny, the final accomplishment. God’s will for our lives is the process of obedience. When it comes down to the work of the Holy Spirit in us, the pursuit of this relationship can be summed up in two words: I WILL. Every other thought or action outside of that is saying I WON’T.
To realize that Christ not only paid it all, He OWNS it all. Everything I am is His. Everything I have belongs to Him, and I am but a steward. My life is not my own, it has been bought with a price. He is my Lord! To understand that knowing Him intimately is worth this cost, this is true contentment.
You may be wondering then how true contentment ties into being prudent, or being prepared for His second coming. I am glad you asked! Each time we yield to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and are obedient, we further learn the art of discernment.
Oswald Chambers puts it this way: “The golden rule for understanding spiritually is not intellect, but obedience. If a man wants scientific knowledge, intellectual curiosity is his guide; but if he wants insight into what Jesus Christ teaches, he can only get it by obedience. If things are dark to me, then I may be sure there is something I will not do.”
Once this seed takes root in our hearts, we understand that God’s purpose for us trumps our dreams of success, and His purpose is accomplished and established through obedience. It is through this daily submission that we always stand ready not only for Christ’s return, but for whatever else may come our way as well.