8 Ways You Can be Ready for Jesus' Return
When Jesus left this earth, He promised that He would return one day and take us to live with Him in His heavenly Kingdom. We are living now in the Church Age, and regardless of what you believe about specific eschatology of the end times, all Christians can agree that Christ is coming back and we are called to be ready and walking the straight and narrow path so that He may tell us "well done, good and faithful, servant" on that glorious day when we meet Him face to face.
Here are eight things you can do as you seek to cultivate a life centered on Christ, eagerly awaiting His return.
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Cultivating a vibrant prayer life is a foundational goal of the Christian life, but even more necessary in being ready to meet Jesus face to face. Someone once compared prayer to a phone conversation with God in which the line is always open and the phone is never hung up--you can always pick up the phone and talk to your Heavenly Father. This is the kind of relationship with Jesus that Scripture encourages us to have, and if we do, we will likely be ready to meet Him whenever He returns or takes us home to be with Him.
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people" (Ephesians 6:18).
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2. Read/Study Scripture
Like prayer, reading God's Word is integral to a vibrant Christian life and essential if you are to be prepared for Christ's return. Not only does reading and studying Scripture familiarize us with what Jesus said about the end times and His impending return, but it deepens our knowledge of Him and allows the Holy Spirit to work abundantly in our lives to make us more like Christ as we face the trials of this life.
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
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Repentance is not only feeling sorry for your sin, but turning from sin to God. Repentance takes humility, and it is one of the first steps in establishing a relationship with Jesus. But although repentance must take place at the beginning of a relationship with Christ, it is also something that Christians must continually practice. We will still give into temptation and sin, so we need to humble ourselves before the Lord and confess how we have failed so that we can be restored to a right relationship with Him through His abundant grace and forgiveness.
Revelation 3:3 says: "Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you."
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4. Grow in faith
Once you come to faith in Christ, it's important not to become stagnant in your walk with Him. Jesus warns the Laodicean church of this in Revelation:
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference" (Revelation 3:15-19).
Continue in prayer, in the study of God's Word, and in fellowship with the Christian community so that your faith may flourish and you will be ready to meet the Lord!
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5. Share your faith
There are so many people on this earth who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior. We don't know the exact day and time Christ will return, so we should always be looking for opportunities to share our faith. Whether it's the woman on the subway, a neighbor across the street, or a member of your own family, be open to how the Lord opens doors to relationships and to peoples' hearts.
"He said to them, 'You are to go to all the world and preach the Good News to every person. He who puts his trust in Me and is baptized will be saved from the punishment of sin. But he who does not put his trust in Me is guilty and will be punished forever'" (Mark 16:15-16).
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6. Get your priorities straight
It's so easy to get caught up in the cares of this world. We have responsibilities, worries, and to-do lists galore! While it's good to stay busy and productive, it's not good to allow the cares of the world and the many things on our to-do lists to distance us from God and from maintaining a close relationship with Him.
There are many parables in the Bible about people who failed to do this and were caught unaware when Jesus returned (for example, Luke 12:41-48).
"You must be ready also. The Son of Man is coming at a time when you do not think He will come" (Luke 12:40).
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7. Believe that God is at work
God is always working, even when it's difficult for us to see it. The entire Bible is the story of His overarching plan for the world. Right now, we are living in the Church Age when Jesus could return any day or moment! Although Scripture tells us that no one knows the day or hour of His return, it also instructs us to be ready and to be sure that God is at work, even when we can't see it.
"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose" (Philippians 2:12-13).
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8. Keep an eternal perspective
Scripture tells us that our true citizenship is in heaven. We are sojourners here on earth, awaiting our true home with our Savior. This is helpful and encouraging to remember as we walk through the valleys and trials of this life. Christ will return and He will take us to be with Him forever!
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body" (Philippians 3:20-21).
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