We don’t know when Jesus will return, but we know He will. As the days and years roll by, there is a temptation to grow complacent as we wait for Him to come and take us home. It becomes easy to believe that it won’t happen in our lifetime. But Jesus warned us to be alert because His coming could occur at any moment (Mark 13:35-37). In the same passage, He warns us not to be found sleeping.
We are to remain vigilant, always doing the work of the Kingdom. There is no time to relax, no excuse for laziness in serving Christ. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want the return of Christ to catch me off-guard. This should affect every action we undertake and every decision we make.
In His letter to the Philippians, Paul encouraged believers to be continually growing in the knowledge and discernment of the Lord so that we would be pure and blameless when Jesus returns (Philippians 1:9-11). It’s the blueprint for how to be alert at all times. If we fill our days seeking Jesus and obeying His commands, His return won’t catch us unawares. But if we indulge in the pleasures and trappings of this world, our spiritual senses will dull, and Christ’s return will certainly find us asleep.
When He comes back, you don’t want Jesus to find you engaging in anything that is not of God. The thought of being caught by surprise when Christ returns should scare all of us to death. Most don’t suddenly fall asleep. They ease into it, some more quickly than others. It’s the same with following Jesus. Satan lulls us into a sleeping life by enticing us with comfort, pleasure, and a desire to be liked and get along. Every day our eyes get a little heavier until suddenly we find ourselves asleep, fully entrenched in the ways of this world. Woe to us if that is how Jesus finds us when He returns.
If you want to be alert at His coming, you must be intentional about living for Him every second of every minute of every hour of every day. It’s difficult. You’ll mess up. You will stumble. But if you will continuously get back up and focus on living for God, you will live on alert for the return of Jesus. On that day, all the struggles of living for Him will be worth the pain. You will receive the reward for your labor.
While staying alert for the imminent return of our Savior can be exhausting, it is also life-giving. The more we live our lives alert to His presence and His will, the fuller our lives will be. We find true life only in Jesus. What we perceive to be the easier life is empty and we will grow weary of our laziness. We will become desperate for meaning, and we find that in Christ alone. Don’t waste your life in pursuit of anything other than Jesus. Be alert. Be prepared. Jesus is coming again, and we all need to be ready.