For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.
There was a time when I worked for the UPS. Yep, that’s right, you’ve seen their commercials, “What can brown do for you?” I usually spent the hours between 11:00 pm and 3:30 am loading eighteen-wheelers with your packages. It wasn’t as bad as you might think though; it’s good work and I suppose someone had to do it. On most nights I loaded trucks going to Burtonsville, MD. One particular night, however, I had to leave the Burtonsville trucks and go help out with a truck heading to Florida. I was living in North Carolina and excited to be in a truck destined to that great peninsula I grew up in. I know it sounds lame, but what else are you going to get excited about while staking packages in a cold dusty trailer at 2:30 in the morning?
While loading the boxes, I was able to take a split second to see where each of them was going. Many of the small towns were unknown to me, but there were also packages heading to areas of the state that I grew up in, went to school in, and where I still have friends living. Every time I noticed a package from one of these cities it reminded me of an certain individual or a specific memory. Yes, it’s sad to admit, but there I was, loading somebody else’s packages into a trailer in the middle of the night… and I was reminiscing. I was enjoying the memories of my family and friends while looking forward to seeing them again someday in the future.
It was then that the Lord began to speak to me. He challenged me to transfer this analogy to my relationship with Christ. How often do I spend time thinking about the day I will come face to face with the Lord? Do I honestly look forward to that happening, or do I half-heartedly believe it to be a possibility in the distant future? Who am I to say that Christ won’t return in all His glory this year, this month, or even tomorrow? The truth is, I don’t have that knowledge, and it is hard to keep Christ’s imminent return at the front of my mind.
The apostle Paul also recognized this problem. He understood that the further time took us from the cross, resurrection, and ascension, the harder it would be to remember Christ’s promise to return. Paul teaches us just how important it is to keep our minds focused on the second coming. When we fail to do this, our lives will fall further and further from the will of God. We know that we are to, “deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,” but doing so will become evidently harder to accomplish if Christ, and His promise to come back and take us home, does not remain at the forefront of our minds.
How often do you think of Christ’s return? Is your lifestyle slowly but surely falling further and further away from the Lords will? May I suggest that these problems may be related? I encourage you to spend more time in your Bible. Speak the truth of God’s love to those around you on a regular basis. Allow God to take control of your every thought. This, my friends, will keep you closer to the cross, and to what Christ did for you there.