By Clarence L. Haynes Jr., Crosswalk.com
I remember back in the 1980’s when I was a teenager serving the Lord. There seemed to be a big emphasis back then on the rapture and the return of Jesus. I seriously thought that Jesus would come back then, but obviously that didn’t happen because we are still here.
While that conversation about the return of Jesus has ebbed and flowed since then (not sure why) it seems like there is a resurgence of people talking about the return of Jesus. As we inevitably move closer to this day, whether it comes in our lifetime or not, the truth is that one day he will return.
With this in mind it makes me wonder should the fact of Jesus coming soon affect the way we live? I believe the answer is a big, resounding yes--but the question is how.
How should this truth affect the way you live? I am going to share with you five ways the fact that Jesus is coming soon should be affecting the way you live.
1. If Jesus Is Coming Soon, You Should Be Encouraging Other Believers
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
Let’s face it there are times in this Christian life where the journey gets hard especially when the realities of life hit you square in the face. However, no matter how challenging this life gets, we have a real hope, Jesus is coming soon. For many people, these words are frightening but the Bible reminds us that this fact should not scare us but encourage us. If you are persecuted for your faith, you can be encouraged because Jesus is coming soon.
If you are sick in your body, you can be encouraged because Jesus is coming soon. It does not matter what situation you face in life you can encourage yourself and others with the fact that Jesus is coming soon.
Let these words serve as a balm knowing that no matter how difficult this life gets it is only temporary and this is not our final destination because Jesus is coming soon and when he comes, we will be with him forever.
2. You Should Be Sharing the Gospel
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. – Matthew 24:14
One of our primary responsibilities in this world is to share the gospel. We should do this whether Christ comes tomorrow or if it is one thousand years from now. Since we are the ones who have the good news, we are the one who need to share it. Too often we can fall into the trap of treating Christianity like it is exclusive, where you have your salvation but there is no room for anyone else.
That is not the gospel. The gospel makes room for everyone and we have to be more inclusive in sharing this good news with all the nations. In other words, be faithful and make sure you share it with everyone and don’t leave anybody out. Here is how Paul wrote it:
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. – 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
3. You Should Live with Expectancy
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” – 2 Peter 3:3-4
One of the things you must guard against is forgetting that Jesus is coming again. I know the thought of that sounds crazy but as I said earlier there have been times this has been prominent thinking in the church and times when it has not been. Typically at some point each generation has thought that Jesus would come in their lifetime and you should too.
This does not mean he will come in this hour, but it means he could. Because of this you should live your life with the expectation that Jesus could come at any moment. In fact, this is what Jesus told us to do.
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. – Luke 21:28
Living with expectancy does not mean you stop working, stop planning, or that you sell all your possessions and go live in the wilderness waiting for him to come. This simply means that you have an internal acknowledgment that if he comes you are ready because you are expecting him to come.
But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. – Luke 12:39-40
4. You Should Be about Kingdom Business
No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. – 2 Timothy 2:4
If there is one challenge you will face living in these days is getting distracted and caught up in things you should not be entangled in. What Paul was telling Timothy in this letter is stay focused and do what God requires you to do. Make sure you don’t get caught up in things that you have no business doing and that don’t please God. Simply put be about kingdom business. This means your life should be wrapped around things that bring God glory and that draw people to him.
Your life should be about pleasing him, which is what you want to be doing when Jesus comes back.
5. If Jesus Is Coming Soon, You Should Be Ready to Go
Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. – Luke 12:35-36
The final way the fact that Jesus is coming soon should affect how you live is you should be ready to go. In the old days, we used to use the term prayed up. This meant that you were walking right, living right, and full of the Holy Spirit ready to do what God wants and ready to go if he comes. That requirement remains the same.
This means you live a holy life. That you commit to doing God’s will and you live obedient to what God desires you to do. This becomes the most important thing in life regardless of everything else you do. If you do those things, then it won’t matter when he comes because you will be dressed and ready to go.
As I mentioned at the beginning every generation has believed that Jesus is coming soon, and it has affected the way they live. Since the beginning of the church in the first century we have been anticipating the return of Jesus and one day it will happen. All I can say is make sure you live in such a way that if he comes today you are prepared.
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. – Matthew 25:13
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Arthit Longwilai
Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.