The words ring in my mind as if they were just spoken although I first heard them many years ago, “Live as though Christ died yesterday, rose today and is coming tomorrow.” This does put some excellent perspective on the importance of the Lord’s death, resurrection and second coming, doesn’t it? It keeps us from any tendency to think of the first two as distant, far-removed events of the past, while it encourages greater thoughtfulness, anticipation and preparation for Christ’s second coming. Titus 2:13 does speak of the “blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
It’s a shame many people have been wrongly preoccupied with the timing of the second coming of Jesus when we all ought to be more concerned about readiness when He does! Concerning timing, our Lord plainly says “no one knows” (Matthew 24:42-44; Mark 13:32-33). With the matter of readiness, God’s word gives us plenty for consideration. Let’s focus on 4 more practices for living in view of the Lord’s return.
Be Patient. James 5:7 says, “Be patient therefore brothers until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.” The word for “patient” here means “to remain tranquil while waiting and to bear up under circumstances without complaint.” If it were not for people and circumstances, I’d never have a problem with patience! Good farmers are an excellent example of this type of patience. They work hard, but they also have to rely on the goodness and timing of the Lord. So do we as Christians (2 Peter 3:11-12).
Strive For Holiness and Godliness. “What sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,” and “be diligent to found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace” (2 Peter 3:11, 14). Notice there is a “diligence” to be found in us for holiness and godliness that are evident when the Lord does come. The word means “to be especially conscientious in discharging an obligation, to be zealous for, eager to do, to take pains, to make every effort.” See passages like Ephesians 4:3, 2 Timothy 2:15 and 2 Peter 1:10 where the word is also found. No one is ready for the Lord’s return who does love holiness and godliness and pursue them as priceless treasure! See also Titus 2:11-14.
Be Encouraging and Comforting (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). The “Blessed Assurance” we have given from God’s word to the families and friends of faithful Christians who’ve gone to be with Jesus is the same assurance we can have day-to-day as we live in Christ. We can find great encouragement and peace from the promises of God found in His word. Encouragement and giving comfort are qualities of God that ought to be found in abundance in His people (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
Be Loving. 2 Timothy 4:8 refers to “all who have loved his appearing.” We long for His return because we love Him. It’s really just that simple. When Jesus comes, what a great day that will be!