2 Peter 3:10-11 (NLT) But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live,
The unexpected can bring joy and distress. An unexpected gift or act of random kindness can fill us with excitement. An unexpected diagnosis can shatter a good life in mere seconds. People choose the known rather than unknown because fear cannot allow hope to shine through. The Light of God’s Love that chases away darkness even in our darkest hour. The day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Sin has made the world unstable at the return of the Lord. His Perfection will melt the earth and only those who choose holy and godly lives will live through it. Daunting I know. Yet on a daily basis, do we truly consider the unexpected arrival of Jesus Christ or live in fear of the timeline of life. Unmet expectation placed in a dying place rather than investing in a reproductive heaven. When Jesus returns for us, there will be great judgment. There are only two sides – light and darkness. The Light drives out all darkness even that hidden in human, fickle hearts. Our focus on this life overshadows our constant and ongoing awareness that the Lord will return unexpectedly.
Regret and remorse are terrible baggage not meant for us to carry once Christ inhabits our life. The permeation of His Spirit gives us constant access to the Father where it is possible to release those things that once kept us bound in our past and present. He gives us a sense of our future and hope that allows us to live bravely and fearlessly. If the perspective of our life could change to that of expectancy, it would impact how we live and the choices made in any given moment. Repentance would be the prayer language of God’s People. The Holy Spirit would be released and His Glory would surround us because we know He is coming for us and desire to be ready. There is more to the Kingdom than simple salvation. Salvation is the handle that opens a door to a storehouse of blessings, promises and the unexpected with the potential to always change our life for the better. We must access it by faith and belief that the Lord is coming like a thief to carry us away.
Matthew 25:10-13 (NLT) “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins is a warning. A careful indication of those who know the Lord but do not live in expectancy. Expectancy requires preparation. It is a life of endurance that maintains a state of readiness until the end. Five of these young ladies were ready. They were prepared. When the bridegroom, representative of Jesus Christ, came they were ready and waiting on him. Are we? The others got carried away with life. Rushing out to get more oil as they were not properly prepared or perhaps wasted it on lesser things. While they were wandering and searching for oil, their groom arrived but they were not there. Jesus used this parable to explain the Kingdom and proper preparation for His Unexpected Arrival. Oil is used to represent anointing in many narratives. The anointing in us is the Holy Spirit. He creates desire and discipline to become one with Jesus. His Presence in us should create expectancy that overflows into the life lived each day.
“Believe me, I don’t know you!” It is the certainty of expectancy that initiates preparation. If we believed that Christ is returning with a Kingdom prepared for us, it would impact how we live. What difference would it make? One might think that those who await Christ must be religiously prepared living a life of perfection and absolute adherence to His Commands. Our flesh will not allow it. At constant odds with our spirit, outside of His Grace there is no perfection. So it is in profound humility that absorbs God’s Grace every day that allows us to properly prepare for the return of Christ. To get our house in order is to focus on the Temple of His Spirit and wait in hopeful expectation each day. It means reserving ourselves for Christ, retrieving all the pieces of our life given to lesser things and returning them to Jesus as a careful offering of submission and surrender to His Word, Will and Way. Jesus isn’t come for religious people but those He calls “beloved” and lives in an ongoing relationship with.
I Thessalonians 5:4-11 (NLT) But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation. For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
Be on your guard, not asleep as others.
When the Lord comes for you, will He know you? Marriages fall apart and couples break up in the shadow of unmet expectation. Relationships taken for granted and starved for attention suddenly crumble under the weight of ignorance. Busyness steals the attention once given to love. Selfishness devours that once surrendered heart. Pride determines it deserves better than this and goes on the hunt for yet another conquest to feed its need. We must guard our heart. It holds our greatest treasure. The very thing that draws us close to the Lord. The flames of our passion for Christ – to know Him and make Him known – cannot be left untended or it will end in divorce. Nothing can ever separate us from the Love of God. However, we can choose other loves and commit adultery with idols given a greater place in our heart than Jesus.
…Let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.
Believers who choose to live in the Light of His Love must be clearheaded. Our minds must be washed in His Word. Our hearts covered in His Blood. Christ who is the Author and Finisher of faith must be our focus with the rest of our life falling carefully beneath Him into place. When our priorities are out of order, the trap for rebellion and failure are set. The enemy uses many distractions to draw us into an unsafe place. He offers compromises, substitutions and settlements designed to lure us from the place of waiting expectantly for Christ. The urgency of this world is not what we think. It is not in the rat race or chasing the American Dream. The urgent expectancy is the return of Christ. Where will you be when He comes for you? At work, but you left Him at home. Living your life the way you desire, leaving your desire for Him behind. Chasing after lesser things for immediate gratification rather basking in confident hope at His Arrival. Will He even know you? When was the last time you talked to Jesus? Walked with Him? Repented? Desired His Grace? Longed for a closer proximity to your First Love? Do you spend any time with Him at all? How much of your life is given to Christ today? It is an important question to ask if your desire is His Kingdom.
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
Finally, our purpose in life is to build the Kingdom. Be light in the dark. Be salt. Our life a beacon like a lighthouse on the shore or city on a hill drawing others to the Lord. Encourage each other. To build each other up. We miss this sometimes. Human nature is to focus on self. The Fruit of God’s Spirit that is cultivated within us is for more than meeting our needs, wants and desires. They become our offering to a world starved for attention and affirmation. They are looking for love in a world where it has grown cold. Are we building the Kingdom with love or destroying it with selfish ambition and prideful conquests? Jesus is coming again. He expects us to be prepared living expectant lives of complete confidence that produces humility, honor and absolutely fearless love. To give our lives away in His Name expecting nothing from this world but awaiting His Return. We didn’t bring anything with us and cannot take it with us so why not live completely generous lives in the Name of Jesus. Emulating His Character, sharing His Word, spreading His Love all around, and not worrying about the everyday cares that might keep us from Him in the end.
Revelation 3:2-3 (NLT) Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.
The unexpected doesn’t have to be so scary. It doesn’t have to be fearful at all. In fact, expectancy in Jesus Christ is ALWAYS a good thing. His Love is for us. He has given us His Peace that should create confidence even in the most diverse situation or circumstances. There is always a reason for hope when the Name of Jesus is evident. We must wake up as believers that just because plans, schedules and routines do not add an ounce of certainty to our lives. The inspiration of God’s Spirit and His Leading cannot be ignored – where Jesus comes for us individually or corporately it will be unexpected. We must pay attention to the details of our life. We must surrender our hearts and minds to Him daily. Living moment by moment by the Word of God and for the Glory of God – not religiously but continuing to abide in a deep, loving and committed marriage and partnership with Jesus Christ.
Revelation 3:20-21 (NLT) “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.