Be Ready!

By Scarlett Stough

Shock, confusion, panic, fear, grief, and anger follow a surprise attack. We plan a special occasion, a nice dinner out, a movie with friends, a date night or a fun shopping trip. Instead of happy memories, we end up with nightmares. We wonder when and where the next attack will occur. We ask how we can prevent them. How can we be ready?

Civil authorities have the God-given responsibility and authority to put measures in place to protect its citizens from attack by enemies (Romans 13:1-7.) Citizens have the responsibility to respect and to cooperate with that authority meant for the common good.

But when Jesus told us to "be ready," the preparation he was talking about had nothing to do with stockpiling weapons and food. Those who have accepted the calling to follow Jesus in this life prepare in a different way than a nation prepares for war in this world.

The role of a Christian is more like that of medical personnel who stockpile everything needed to treat the wounded and the sick.

Why does a Christian need to "be ready?"

We wait for the return of Jesus:

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him.
1 John 2:28

We must be prepared all the time for his return and the establishment of his kingdom (Revelation 11:15-18).

Although we are waiting for the visible return of Jesus (Matthew 24:26-31), he is with us now by the Holy Spirit given to those who believe, trust and obey him. The Holy Spirit is preparing us. We have his leadership through the guidance of his Spirit. How do we know we have been given his Spirit?

Peter said, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call" (Acts 2:38-39).

We can know we have received God's promised Holy Spirit. God's Spirit transforms our desires to be in agreement with God's. Even though it takes a lifetime to unlearn sinful habits, we do make progress as the grace of God works in our lives. We can see our attitudes gradually changing. Some transformations are more dramatic and visible to others; but other changes are internal and not as visible. Gaining the power to forgive others and treat even our enemies with kindness is the result of the Spirit's work within.

What does a Christian stockpile in order to "be ready"?

Our equipment is described in Ephesians 6:10-20. Take the time to read this passage and apply it to daily life. Briefly, God's armor is not made of Kevlar or reinforced steel. God’s armor is truth, righteousness, the good news of peace, faith, salvation, the word of God, and prayer.

Every unit of an organization and every individual in it has a job to do. Every one committed to following Jesus has a job to do and the grace of God to be able to do that job. The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth about the variety of jobs that need to be filled in the assembly of believers (1 Corinthians Chapters 12-14).

Are you a teacher? Are you a caregiver? Are you a preacher or evangelist? Do you have a drive to feed hungry people or provide housing or medical services for people who can't afford the basic necessities of life? Are you moved to encourage others? Then by doing the job you are called and fitted to do, you are preparing for the return of Christ and you will be ready and found faithful. But there is more to it than doing the assigned work, we must do it out of a genuine faith in and love for God (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

There is another essential part of being ready: Don't quit.

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Matthew 24:12-13

Anyone who says they can give you the exact date of Jesus return is lying to you. Don't believe the deceivers. It's natural to want to know the time. Jesus' disciples asked him for a sign (Matthew 24:3). Jesus gave them a summary of the events which would be happening in the world up to the time of his return, but told them only the Father in heaven would know the exact time.

Our job is to be ready all the time (Matthew 24:42-44.)

Volume 14 Issue 07 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation |

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