I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
The return of Christ is perhaps one of the most debated topics of Scripture. There are theological boxes that denominations hold to and a series of expectations we might cling to. Yet, the unifying, purifying and hopeful part of our eschatology is the loving of His appearing.
Whether we believe Jesus could come any day now or we are waiting for pre-coming signs first, hopefully, our hearts will beat with love and longing for our Lord to return.
Here are three ways being watchful for the coming of Christ could impact your spiritual growth and daily living:
1. Our Daily Practicalities Will Be Purified
Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless… (2 Peter 3:11-14).
Peter urges believers that the return of Christ ought to impact our daily living. When we consider that earthly treasures will be destroyed and remember that we ought to look for the glory of the New Heaven and New Earth, it puts the “demand of the daily” in its proper place.
The piled dishes or lawn that needs to be mowed maybe shouldn’t tax our relationships with our family members. Maybe we don’t need to invest so much emotion, time, or money in appearances when we remember everything we glimpse now will fade.
Maybe we could be invested in the things that make for peace and spiritual fruit with greater passion and commitment.
Titus also repeats this same sentiment:
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, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:11-14).
When we set our focus on the imminent coming of Christ, it changes the way we live our lives! It puts a fire under our purity pursuit and reminds us of what we ought to be passionate about.
2. Our Hope for Better Tomorrows
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus(Philippians 1:6).
Sometimes I get frustrated with my slow spiritual growth. Sometimes I get impatient with the growth of those I love. But when I remember that God has promised to be always working inside my heart until the day His Son comes for me, it is an encouragement to me on those days of struggle.
We… are transformed into the same image from glory to glory(2 Corinthians 3:18).
Our Lord takes us from glory to glory. Sometimes our growth paths are messy, and it might not feel like we are growing from glory to glory, but God promises to finish the good work He started in us until He returns to earth or the day that He calls us home. Ultimately, He grows us from glory to glory until we see Him.
Resting in this biblical promise is powerful! When I remember that God is taking my husband, family members, and friends on a path of glory, I fret over them less and have more faith in God’s goodness.
When I remember that God is taking me from glory to glory and will complete the good work He started in me, I get less stuck along the emotional ditches.
I don’t let things gnaw at my heart the same way. I am filled with a freeing hopefulness because I can rest in the confidence that I know I am headed for all that God saved me for.
3. Waiting for Christ’s Coming Is a Natural Outpouring of Salvation
So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him (Hebrews 9:28).
If we love and cherish the first coming of Christ, it stands to reason that the fruit of His first coming will be that we will eagerly wait for His second coming.
A couple of years back, our family began observing the Jewish Shabbat dinner. We were struck with the beautiful ways Christ’s coming was “hoped for” in the elements of the dinner. As Christian participants in the traditional dinner, we add in the reminders of His promised second coming.
It constantly grows peace and hope in my heart when I center my heart around His promised return. In these particular days of unrest and uncertainty, it has steadied my heart to fix it on the hope of His coming for us all again.
And as we have cultivated this spiritual family tradition, I have realized how often, as believers, we don’t regularly center our hearts on Christ’s return. We hold it far off. But this is unnatural.
Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.
Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord — for we walk by faith, not by sight — we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him (2 Corinthians 5:5-9).
There is something disconnected in a believer’s experience when Christ’s second coming is set off to the side. When we were saved, God placed His Holy Spirit in our hearts as a down payment and a promise that He would bring us to heaven with Him.
What Does This Mean?
That means the Holy Spirit inside us is beating with waiting for the fulfillment of Christ’s return. Leaning into this perspective for our lives is a practical way to yield to the Holy Spirit inside us.
If we cultivated the loving, longing, hastening, and waiting the New Testament speaks of in regard to Christ’s second coming, it could change so much in our hearts! May we all grow in how we love our Lord’s return!
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