I hear it all the time. “Lord, come quickly!”
But it’s not a fervent, prayerful request or a sincere desire of our hearts. It’s usually accompanied by scoffing, eye-rolling, or perhaps an attempt to ask God to deliver us from whatever obstacle we are facing at the moment.
But I want to ask you something. What if He did return? What if He came back tomorrow at 12 pm. What would you do tonight?
If your answer is anything other than what you already had planned, then you aren’t ready. Neither am I.
You see, of the 7+ billion people in the world, more than half have little to no access to the Gospel. And let’s be realistic– among those who do have access to the Gospel, relatively few choose to accept it. So I’ll ask you again…do you still want Jesus to come quickly? Do you understand that this would mean the end for nearly 5 billion people?
When I look at the world and how far we are from the will of God, I often wonder where the wrathful God of the Old Testament is. I wonder how Sodom and Gomorrah could be destroyed, yet we could stand through the terrors of Nero, Hitler, and more currently, ISIS. Why would God not choose to end this?
And then it hits me. It is God’s GRACE that keeps Him from returning. He WILL return but not until every ear has heard the Good News. He will not give up on us, even when we are ready to give up on each other, and that should challenge us to love more deeply than we ever thought possible.
So enough with the division. Enough with the negative comments. Enough with the narcissism. Enough with the hatred. These are not of God. In fact, He gave us specific instructions for how we are to handle ourselves as we await His return.
So consider yourself cordially invited to Rapture Practice.
12 But we request of you, brethren, that you [i]appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you [j]instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. 14 We urge you, brethren, admonish the [k]unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. 16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic [l]utterances. 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every [m]form of evil.
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
25 Brethren, pray for us[n].
26 Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. 27 I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-28
As we enter a time of reflection before the beginning of a new year, I am asking you, fellow follower of Christ, to examine your life. Do each of these verses describe you? If not, you may have some practicing to do.