There are broadly two types of people in this world… those who do everything last minute, flying through the door with seconds to spare, cramming revision the night before an exam, setting the alarm for the last possible moment; and those who plan ahead, spread things out and work to ensure everything is in place well before the deadline. In normal life, these differences are pretty entertaining as those in opposing camps mock each other and justify their own style of living.
But there is a preparation that the Bible talks about which is worth getting ahead of! It is the preparation of our hearts and lives for the return of Jesus. This isn’t just a fanciful idea that Christians have, giving some kind of false hope for the future. This is fact. Jesus is coming again and there will be no mistaking His arrival.
Over 2,000 years ago Jesus was telling His disciples to stay awake and to be ready. This message continues through scripture and is deliberately there to inspire and encourage God’s people not to drift through life, unaware of what is happening on God’s timetable, but to be awake, ready, prepared and expectant for His return.
Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
Matthew 24:42–44, ESV
The strong message from these verses is that we should live as if Jesus is coming back today! We shouldn’t have the mindset that we’ll somehow be able to cram our preparation into a few hours if we suddenly discover Jesus has returned. We need to start now. To wake up now. To prepare our hearts now. The fact that Jesus tells us we don’t know the time when he will return means that we can’t set our alarm for 5 minutes beforehand, giving us a few minutes to jump up from our sleep, chuck on our clothes and swish some mouthwash! Check out the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) for more on this!
As we look on at a world that is shaking, we too should feel shaken out of our slumber and into a new mode of preparation. What an opportunity we have to be serious with our commitment to the Lord. Not one foot in the world and one foot in the Kingdom of God – but all in for Him. Our hearts fully committed to Him and His ways.
As Romans 13:11 says, salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed! But the following verses give us the ‘So then…’ or in other words… this is what you should do to get ready. It basically tells us to shift the way we live our lives so that they represent the world less and His Kingdom more. We’re told to steer clear of any lifestyle, behaviour or pattern of thinking that would be categorised as something that belongs to the darkness. We’re not to give even an inch for those things which delight and satisfy our flesh and its desires.
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarrelling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Romans 13:11–14, ESV
It is going to take some effort! But God isn’t expecting us to be able to pull this off on our own. He is with us in it. He is stood with His arms out to help us walk this walk and the Holy Spirit will strengthen us and give us what we need.
In committing to getting ready we are saying that we are willing for God to dig deep in our hearts, to challenge sinfulness and impurity, to restore those places where we have been wounded and to make us more like Him. This journey will inevitably involve healing as so many of the darker experiences of life have left their mark – causing our hearts to be unsteady so that when difficulties come, we are shaken and fearful rather than trusting and at peace.
In these days that we are living in, we are becoming increasingly aware of why God established Ellel Ministries. We believe we have a significant part to play in this time of preparation – to help God’s people get ready for His imminent return. To restore broken hearts, fearful hearts, traumatised hearts – so that they can be more fully given to Jesus. So that God’s people can serve Him boldly as the darkness of the world increases. But more than anything else, so that Christ’s Body can be united as one, clothed in purity and brightness and ready for His return (Revelation 19:7-8).
So, let’s not hit snooze on the alarm that is going around the world right now. Let’s not put off what needs to happen in our lives. Let’s go all in with Him and commit to preparing our hearts, dealing with our stuff and brokenness and living expectantly for his dramatic return.
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