As I was thinking about the soon return of our Lord and Savior for His bride, I began to think about what are some of the things we need to be doing as we see that blessed day approaching. Or, should we just continue living life, as some would say, believing it will all work out in the end? Well, what does scripture tell us?
In Luke 21:34-36, Jesus tells us two things we should be doing. He tells us that we need to be watching for His return, not getting caught up in carousing, drunkenness and the cares of this life. He makes it clear that if we get caught up with these things His return will come on us unexpectantly. I’ve heard many people say that they’re not concerned about ‘watching’ for His return, in observing the signs of the times and the unfolding of Biblical end-time prophecy. They claim that we are to ‘occupy’ until He comes, and that as long as they are ready then it will all work out, but that mindset concerns me. In multiple passages Jesus tells us to ‘watch’, and with emphasis. Why, because apparently it would be easy to get caught up with the cares of life and not be ready for His return. By the way, did you notice He’s telling this to His disciples and not to those who were not following Him?
The second thing that Jesus tells us in this passage is to pray continually that we may be counted worthy to escape that which is coming down the pipes upon this earth. Wait a minute. He’s telling His disciples to pray, and pray continually, that they are counted worthy to escape that which will be coming to pass? Wow. What does that tell us? What it tells me is that we can’t just sit smugly in our Lazy Boys and think we have it made and have nothing to worry about. One of the best lies of the enemy, among many, is that once we’ve asked Jesus to be our Lord and Savior then we have nothing to worry about and can relax believing we’re okay, but that is not how Jesus wants us to approach it. Jesus knows far better than we do what will come to pass after He comes for His bride, and He’s letting us know we need to take our relationship with Him so seriously so as to not take anything for granted. Oh, Lord, help us to take your warnings and admonitions to watch and pray as seriously as you need us to.
In Philippians 2:12, Paul tells us to ‘work out our own salvation with fear and trembling’. While there may be differing views of what that may mean, I believe the consensus is that we take our relationship with Jesus seriously. I also note that in the same verse prior to the above statement he comments on the obedience of the Philippians to the gospel. This is something that is missing in most church circles in America these days, the commitment to being obedient to God and His word, the Bible. We live in a time when it’s fashionable to decide which parts of the Bible we will follow in our own lives, and which ones we will conveniently ignore. One of my pet peeves is when we either put words in Gods mouth, or for that matter take words out of His mouth. We have a tendency to look at a scripture we don’t like or agree with and to ‘modify it’ according to what we think God really meant by it so as to justify why we don’t embrace and live by it. Jesus said that if we love Him we will do His commandments, and when we fail to be obedient to Him and His word we are then considered as lawless in His sight.
Another thing we need to be doing is found in Hebrews 10:24-25. The writer of Hebrews tells us to consider one another so that we can stir up love and good works. He further states in the same sentence that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as apparently some made a habit of doing, so that we can exhort one another, especially as we see the day of His return approaching. Check this out. We are told that as we see the day of His return approaching we must not forsake the times that we gather together with the brethren. The more evident it becomes that Jesus’ return is imminent, the more we need to embrace times with fellow believers both in church settings and in our ‘social lives’, this is so that we can be an encouragement and a help for others and they in turn can do likewise for us. The closer we get to His return, which means the closer we’re getting to the tribulation period, the darker things are going to get in this world, and the harder it will be for us to stay close to Him. Might I also add, the closer we get to His return the harder it will be for us to 1) watch for His return, 2) continually pray that we are counted worthy to escape that which is coming, and 3) to remain obedient to Him and His word when so much of this life will pull us away. We need more than ever before, to relish all the time we can with fellow believers where we will find the encouragement, the help and the corporate strength to persevere until that blessed day arrives. I’m speaking even to myself in that I’m not a ‘social butterfly’, but it is going to be essential for each of us to lock arms with our brothers and sisters in Christ like never before if we’re going to stand. I’m not saying we need to isolate ourselves from those who are not followers of Christ, because that is not what we are called to do, but it does mean we need to value time with the brethren more and more all the time. People who are not followers of Christ, or those who think they are but are merely fans of Jesus, and there is a difference, may not understand this, but we need the support of those in the family of God if we are going to make it in these last days. Many feel that being faithful to your local church and spending time with fellow believers of Christ is optional and not essential, but I’m afraid that they will one day have tremendous regrets for not heeding the instructions of the Lord and taking their walk with Him more seriously. After all, if you knew that there was a potential threat coming to you and your family, would you not take it seriously and do whatever you needed to do no matter how inconvenient and disliked it was just so you could protect them? How much more seriously should we take our walk with Jesus as we see the coming judgments of God coming soon to this earth after what we call the rapture takes place?
So, as we see the day of His return approaching more and more each day, and seeing the urgency of the times we live in and that His return is imminent, are you doing what you should be doing? If not, I strongly encourage you to grab a hold of these things as you prepare for Him. No matter how some may paint things, you will not want to be here during the tribulation period as it will be worse than many think it will be.