The way we live our life is what makes us who we are. If we dress like hoodlums and do wrongful, sinful acts, then that just shows who we truly are. If you spend your days trying to genuinely help people and do the right thing, it proves what kind of person you are. That’s why it is one of my favorite things to talk about. As members of the elect, we need to live lives that fulfill what Jesus commands us to do because we love him so. We need to be ready and watchful for the day He returns to us.
There will be a day when Christ does return. The Bible is very clear about this in multiple occasions. However, no one knows the day nor the hour, as it says in Mark 13:32 (ESV), “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” That time could be in a few moments as I type this post or as you read this. It might come in my lifetime or it might not. I don’t know and nor do you. Only the Father of the heavens and earth know when the return will take place. In the meanwhile, we must be ready. We must love God and obey Him.
A great story that I’ll be referencing throughout this post can be found in Luke 12:35-40 (ESV). It reads, “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like man who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to Him at once when He comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when He comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress Himself for service and have them recline at the table, and he will come and serve them. If He comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief is coming, He would not have left his house to be broken into. You must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” As usual, I’m going to analyze this passage by breaking it down into three points.
A huge portion of the passage above is about staying ready. We as Christians have to keep our guard up at all times. It says that we must stay dressed for action and to keep our lamps burning. We should be waiting for our Master’s return from the wedding feast when Christ returns, so that when he knocks on our door we immediately answers him. But what exactly does this mean for us? Well for starters, to be in obedience of Him. When He commands us to do something, we must respond with a sense of urgency to uphold that command.
Today, I returned from drill with the National Guard. It was my last one at the current detachment because next month I will join my actual unit. One of our cadre spoke to us with some advice before we join the unit we belong to. He said that when given a command, we are expected to do nothing, but follow the instructions or to ask for clarification.
This is how Christians should act. When God tells us to do something, we need to respond immediately. Even if it does make us uncomfortable, or it pains us to do so. If we need clarification, there are a few ways to fix that. The first is that you can read the Scriptures and study them. They are ultimately the Word of God. You don’t have to have a college degree in a religious field or to be a theologian to do that. In fact, everyone should study the Word. If that doesn’t help, ask around. There are people who can help you see it from a different point of view. Just be careful of heretics who try to distort the true gospel.
But the biggest thing you can do to help clarify a command outside of studying the Bible is to pray. Just ask God Himself in prayer. Prayer is one of the most important thing a believer can do. To simply go to God in a conversation and ask. If what you are searching for is something that comes from God in hopes of clarification, I believe He will answer. Maybe it will not be an answer that you want or expect, but nonetheless it will be God’s answer.
We must realize every word we say and every action we take have an effect and must be answered for eventually. There will be times when we want to get complacent. Complacency can quickly lead to a bad place. That is why we must make a conscious effort to remain true to being ready.
In order to be ready, you must be awake. Jesus says that those who are found awake are blessed. Staying awake is no easy task sometimes. Think back to a day where you were constantly busy at work all day, only to come home and have to do more tasks that kept you up later than you wanted, or maybe to a time where you had a graveyard shift or something that required you to be awake during the night. Anyone who has served in the military knows what it means to be tired. Though I haven’t been deployed yet, I know what it means during basic training.
There is something in the military called fire guard. It occurs when everyone in the group goes to sleep. In basic training while we were sleeping in the barracks, we had three people pull fire guard for an hour, before waking up the next three people. In the field, we would pull 33% security, which meant you would sleep for two hours and pull guard for another hour. Our drill sergeants told us stories of how people falling asleep on fire guard while being deployed has gotten people killed. It is extremely important to stay awake for both soldiers, as well as Christians (in a figure of speech sense).
In the passage, it mentions blessing the servants awake during the second or third watch of the night. While I had only an hour shift (usually only once per night), Jesus is referring to one of two night watch systems. Whether it’d be the Jewish understanding that divides the night into three watch times, or the Roman understanding that divides the night into four night watches, the point He is trying to make is that the Master could come at any time of the night, when we are not expecting it, and when we are tired. Yet we must persevere though the tired and suck of life and remain true to Him. We must stay awake and remain ready.
The final part has to deal with the consequences of your actions. One of two things are going to happen. The first one is bad news. This will occur if you are unfaithful and disobedient. A few verses after the passage I quoted earlier, in Luke 12:45-47 (ESV), reads, “But if that servant says to himself, ‘My Master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and females servant, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the Master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect Him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him to pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his Master’s will but did not get ready or act according to His will, will receive a severe beating.”
Those who know God’s will, but who don’t get ready or are asleep when He comes will be punished, and it will not just be a slap on the wrist. There’s strong language and imagery such as being cut to pieces, placed with the unfaithful, and receiving a severe beating. This is the outcome to a life full of disobedience. But what if we are faithful, and we follow the Master’s will?
In the passage I mentioned in the beginning, He blesses those who are awake and ready. But more than that, it says He will dress Himself for service for us to recline at the table. But if you continue reading, it says in Luke 12:43-44 (ESV), “Blessed is that servant whom his Master will find so doing when He comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set Him over all his possessions.” This is also what is to come if you remain a loyal follower of God. Not only are you blessed and get to recline at the table, but you also receive possessions. These metaphoric examples are to picture what is to come if you remain true to Him who called us.
I hope you have a better understanding of how we should act while we wait for Christ’s return. We must be ready at all times and we cannot afford to get complacent. We must remain awake, no matter how difficult. The consequences are too great. You are accountable for every action you take and every word you say, and trust me that consequences of doing the right thing and following God’s will are much much better than the alternative. I hope you take to heart what I have to say.