“For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return
will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.”
(I Thessalonians 5:2)
Thoughts... Both Thessalonian letters devote a great deal to Christ’s return. Paul concludes this first letter by reminding his readers that this great event will happen when people least expect it—“like a thief in the night.” So as believers, we must therefore live each and every moment expecting the unexpected. We are to live with our bags packed, so to speak, ready to leave for our true home—heaven—at a moments notice.
What does it mean to live in such a way? Paul gives a checklist of sorts in the final verses of this letter. Perhaps you’ve used a checklist to make sure you have the right things packed in your suitcase before going on an extended trip. As you prepare for the journey home—which by the way, will be an extended trip with no return—here is your spiritual checklist:
- Verse 6: Be alert—be on the lookout; remain on guard as to Christ’s return and the evil conditions of the time in which it will take place.
- Verses 6 & 8: Be self-controlled—keep your life, your passions, your desires and fleshly drives in check.
- Verse 8: Be armed—put on the armor of faith (conviction), love (self-sacrifice) and hope (the assurance of your salvation).
- Verse 11: Be encouraging—instead of finding flaws in others, build them up and help them to be ready for Christ’s return.
- Verses 12-13: Be respectful—treat your spiritual leaders—ministers and lay leaders—with high regard and love. Give them respect not because of their position, educational achievements are popularity, but because of the nature of their work.
- Verse 13: Be at peace—seek peace actively, not passively, with fellow believers.
- Verses 14-15: Be involved—get involved with others by warning the idle, motivating the timid, helping the weak, being patient with everyone, and exhibiting kindness rather than retaliation toward those who’ve hurt you.
- Verse 16: Be joyful—maintain an attitude of joy no matter what.
- Verse 17: Be prayerful—stay in God’s presence continually.
- Verse 18: Be thankful—not only in good times, but even in bad times exhibit an attitude of gratitude.
- Verses 19-20: Be sensitive—develop a sensitivity and an appreciation for the work of the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ; especially as it relates to prophecy.
- Verse 21: Be discerning—be knowledgeable of the Bible so that everything can be tested against it.
- Verse 21: Be obedient—understand what the Word of God says, and be quick to obey it.
- Verse 22: Be pure—moral purity should continually characterize your life.
- Verses 23-24: Be dependent—be wholly dependent on God and cooperative with the Holy Spirit to bring about sanctification and blamelessness in your life—body, soul and spirit.
- Verse 25: Be an intercessor—regularly intercede for others before the throne of God.
- Verse 26: Be friendly—love and affection must be demonstrative, and an outward expression of your inner affection for fellow believers.
- Verse 27: Be unselfish—take responsibility to share with other believers the truth of God’s Word.
- Verse 28: Be gracious—live in the light and reality of God’s grace, personally and relationally.
Are you ready to go, or do you need to do some more packing? Jesus may come today, so make sure you’re ready for the journey.
Prayer… Lord, I long to see you. Perhaps it will be today! But whether it is today or a hundred years from now, empower me through the Holy Spirit to live this day in a state of readiness, ready to go home at a moments notice.
One More Thing…“Our deepest calling is not to grow in our knowledge of God. It is to make disciples. Our knowledge will grow — the Holy Spirit, Jesus promised, will guide us into all truth. But that’s not our calling, it is His. Our calling is to prepare the world for Christ’s return. The world is not ready yet. And so, we go about introducing a dying world to the Savior of Life. Anything we do toward our own growth must be toward that end.” —Jeffery Bryant