All of the talk in Christian circles for weeks and months now has been about the many signs of Christ's soon return and how prophecies are being fulfilled all around us. Let me tell you that I agree and it is exciting to see. But as much as it honors God to recognize His Prophecies and to anticipate His soon return, there is a much greater way to honor and please Him than simply becoming infatuated with when it will happen. When we recently spent three weeks learning how Jesus Himself taught us to pray, He taught us the proper mindset in this life—the proper focus and mentality of believers now on earth. In the very first words of the Prayer: Matthew 6:9-10—our calling in these End Days is not to slow down, give up on the world or retreat in waiting. Our calling, our prayer, our passion according to Jesus' model prayer for us needs to be bringing His Kingdom here, now; needs to be finding and doing His Will with renewed fervor now. Looking for "The Blessed Hope" of His Return does not mean “Sitting on your blessed hump!” until He returns; it does not mean sitting on our hands in giddy excitement. It means, living more sincerely, more sacrificially, more purposefully than ever before. It means less discussion and more real love. It means leaving the ways of a world bound for hell and truly living foreign to everything around us because we see such a treasure in His ways. It means becoming a completely surrendered servant to Him rather than a spoiled child wanting to be served. We have been made the literal sons and daughters of God our Father. What does that mean we are to be like in this world? We are to be about His Will while we are here, especially in these most crucial times before He Comes. We are to represent Him; love what He loves; live to be one with Him as Christ is One. Accept and glory in that fact. Join with Him as one in loving and saving this world.
Let's take a look, once again at the Words of Jesus as He tells us how we should be living in anticipation of His Return. First: we must see this crazy, dark world as our Father sees it. Yes, there is more evil, spitefulness, and hate than we've ever seen in our lifetimes, and many choose this selfish anarchy over God purposefully. God knows the hearts of men. God will give them their deserved punishment in His Time. But understand this: many truly do not know truth. We must understand this: so much of the depravity, anger and ridicule we see comes from a generation that is saturated in worldly influence and knowledge from their youth that know little to nothing of the real Jesus and His love; that have no idea of their value or their purpose in life, from broken homes with no role models, no guidance—many knowing nothing but abandonment, loneliness and abuse themselves—responding to all they have experienced and been taught and trying to find their own purpose, value and joy. They are not to be hated or looked down upon, but to be seen as alone, confused and in need of the One Who Created them. They are our calling, not our enemies, not a nuisance: Matthew 9:36-38; Romans 5:8. Will we live and sacrifice while they are yet sinners? Think of Jesus' reaction to the woman at the well, the Pool of Bethesda, the thief on the cross. Every soul, no matter how fallen and broken has one deep desire—a need to be loved, a need to feel worth. Give that to them—be Christ. When Jesus was baptized by John—did He need a repenter's baptism? No, it was to show His fulfillment of all things and to show His relation to sinners—dying with them, rising with them. When Jesus died on the Cross, He was in the ultimate way relating to, connecting with those lost. He was that loving, that concerned, that connected to the lost—which included you and me. We are called to be "A Preview of Coming Attractions." We are salt and light—preserving their souls, showing their worth—so get sprinkling. They may be that last person before the Trump Sounds.
Second: We must separate ourselves as far from the influence of a world living in the Last Days as possible for several reasons. 1) Obviously being that the desires and influences of the world around us will make us self-focused in our actions and motivations; will cause us to have different goals and desires; will cause us to have a completely different value and love for everyone around us. It will destroy our relationships, our lives, our emotions and our spirits—as we see happening today all around us. 2) It will keep us from becoming one with our God—from sharing in His thoughts, plans and goals; keep us from intimately knowing His love and power in our lives; keep us from walking in purpose, peace and excitement. 3) Even the good things of this life, when taken too far—when embraced as the world embraces them—will steal our affection, take away our energy, resources and attention to what our lives are truly all about. This is where many Christians are falling short today. We spend our days slaving to have more than we need; to impress the wrong people; chasing pleasures and experiences above serving God and others; living for self, first; fighting and struggling with our spouses, family and others; focusing so much on their imperfections and our injustices, that we have no time or attitude to do anything for Christ. If we put Him first, if we thought, prayed and worked together in serving Him—rather than competing with on another, rather than picking each other apart—when we don't get our way our relationships would flourish. We don’t have time to tear each other apart, to get lost in constant selfish struggles, when we are the hope Christ sent to the world. Many of the problems we create for ourselves in life are a direct outcome of our focus on self rather than our focus on God and His purposes. If we are God's literal children—if we are one with Him, if His desires are to really be our desires—we do not have time left to be completely absorbed in constant relationship struggles—which show our lack of love and focus, which steal our emotions and darken our hearts. We do not have time to be consumed by more money and things. We do not have time to lose ourselves in lust and pornography. We do not have time to hold onto resentment and unforgiveness. We do not have time to simply live each day for our own pleasure and fun: 2 Timothy 2:4; Hebrews 12:1; 1 Peter 1:13-14. If we truly make following Christ and doing His Will number one in our lives—make them our passion—most of the other struggles with others, most of the sins we fight so hard, most of the self-pity, anxiety and fear would naturally fade as a result: 2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Timothy 2:21. We must work to separate ourselves from the crazy influence of this world around us and live as one with Him—for our own healing. It is our time to live with passion and devotion. It is time to focus on being a warrior for Christ rather than a spoiled child wanting to be served. You can't build a house; you can't win a war when you are locked in a prison, when you are fighting with fellow soldiers placed with purpose. Third: The most obvious and practical part of living for the last days, rather than simply looking for the last day, is realizing God not only hopes and longs for us to join Him in His work. He expects and commands it, and He has a right to do so, because we are His Creation, saved by His sacrifice, living in His goodness and by His mercy. We find it hard, scary, and even bothersome to live for Christ, to love on, and serve other people, to tell others about His love and sacrifice for them. Here is how it can go from a chore, to a blessing: stop trying to force yourself to serve and do more, and just pour your heart into really knowing Him, not just knowing about Him, but sharing time with Him; looking for and surrendering to His will, trusting His love and work in your life, realizing how He looks out for you and loves you. Pray with sincerity that He gives you the love and care for others that He possess and doing His work, loving others more passionately. Wanting to tell people how they are loved, wanting to use your talents and resources for Him all come as a natural desire. Your ministry becomes a true will of the heart rather than a force of the mind. You truly begin to walk with Him because it becomes a part of who you are rather than what you do. That is why God says He will judge us by our fruits because if we have no desire to bear fruits in this messed up world, we are not truly intimate with Him. Listen to these Parables of Jesus with this mindset: Matthew 25:14-30. This is an obvious and beautiful illustration that this is Christ's world, that He died to save. In His physical absence, we are His servants on this earth, entrusted with His property. Everything we have is from Him. As His servants, His beloved, His royal heirs—one in heart with Him—we are to invest the blessings and talents He has given into loving and serving Him and others. It is literally our main purpose in this life. And if we are not doing this—not producing any fruit—it shows our true heart is bent on living for ourselves alone; it shows we are resentful of our hard Master expecting us to use our life for Him, with the end result being taken from His Presence forever. He will simply give us what we desire.
Answer honestly: what are the fruits of your passion, time, effort and labor? And if you say, "Well, I don't know what I'm supposed to do for God?" It means that you are not trying to be intimate with Him, but are instead using Him as a paradise ticket or blessing genie. He makes it very clear to a sincere heart because our fruits simply come from living and acting in His love: Matthew 25:41-46. Loving on, serving, caring about those who are simply around you every day. Jesus explains our current situation very clearly as to why we don't draw close to Him today: Luke 14:15-24. We have made things our reason for living and fit God in where we have excess. We have made our relationships our reason for living—suffering disappointment, frustration and bitterness. God says, “If I Am not the biggest motivation in your life, I Am nothing at all.” Just as we want to be to our beloved; just as we are to Him.
Are these things your excuse for not coming to the table to eat with Him? Are these things what steal your affection, time and service for Him? If so, where does that leave you in this story? Here is the Parable from Jesus that puts all of this into perspective: Matthew 13:44-46. Do you think the world understood this man’s crazy choice? No, they couldn’t see what was waiting for him. When we really see Jesus for Who He Is; when we really Love Him for all He's done; we will be driven in excitement and desire to use all we have to serve Him back because nothing else can compare to Him: Matthew 24:44-47. Jesus says it is our job as His servants to be giving the world its food in His absence. When He returns, is that what He will find you doing? Or will you be locked in the back pantry, hording the food for yourself until His arrival? If that is what you are found doing, His return will not be a joyful occasion for you. If we know Jesus really is coming back soon, stop "looking up" at the sky and start rolling up your sleeves. See the world through His eyes. Really live separately and intimately with Him. See Him as a treasure worth spending your life (talents) on now. Or you don't really see Him as worthy at all—you just want His blessings in your life. And no matter how much you talk about His return, no matter how much you know about His prophecies—you will not be ready when the Trump soon sounds.
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