20 years ago, my husband and I left the hospital with our first child—a 4-pound baby boy. This little preemie hijacked our hearts from the beginning, and we enjoyed many hours dreaming about what life would be like with our new son.
We knew the day would come when he would leave our home and head out into the world. But that day felt so far away, and we had enough to focus on already. But as the birthdays accrued, this future day began taking up more prominence in our minds.
After running through all the milestones leading up to moving out, he told us that he and his friends signed a lease on an apartment closer to campus. The day my husband and I had prepared for, and yet dreaded, was fast approaching. Everything became urgent. What else did we need to teach him before he left?
Well, the day came as surely as we knew it would twenty years ago. We moved him into his new place then drove back to our home, which now felt a little quieter and a lot bigger.
Reflecting on this day which changed our family dynamic has me thinking about another day—the day when Jesus returns for his people. All Christians know that day is coming, but I wonder if it lacks the immediacy of our attention that it deserves. Perhaps it feels real, but distant—not a concern for today but something to dwell on tomorrow. Our confidence in Christ’s return should ignite urgency in our mission to make and train disciples by planting healthy, multiplying churches among neighbors and nations. Click To Tweet
But this future day has tremendous implications for how we live today and every day in between. And no matter how far off it may seem, its coming is certain. Scripture tells us to be ready for Christ’s return (Matt. 24:44). Are we? Here are three reasons why keeping that day at the forefront of our hearts and minds helps prepare us for it.
1. Triggers Missional Urgency
It’s reckless to have a casual regard for Christ’s return and its ramifications for us all. Being careless about our calling to make disciples creates lazy light-bearers and poor witnesses to the lost. It also produces dangerous contentment with half-hearted holiness and indifference about God’s glory. This sloppy lifestyle signals to the watching world that what we say we believe isn’t all that important.
Our confidence in Christ’s return should ignite urgency in our mission to make and train disciples by planting healthy, multiplying churches among neighbors and nations. Are we doing and saying all we can to our unbelieving friends and family to persuade them of the certainty of Christ’s coming back to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim. 4:1)? Are we prepared to give an account (1 Pet. 4:5)? What will the master find us busy doing upon his return (Matt. 24:45–46)?Being careless about our calling to make disciples creates lazy light-bearers and poor witnesses to the lost. It also produces dangerous contentment with half-hearted holiness and indifference about God’s glory. Click To Tweet
Our time on earth is short and we have holy work to do. Let’s get busy.
2. Generates Kingdom Perspective
Although we’re not of this world (John 17:16), we’re definitely in it, and that makes us susceptible to its influence. It’s easy to adopt the surrounding culture’s mindset. Blending in with our neighbors, chasing after the things we’re told to pursue for happiness, and making peace with the world should set us up for easy ways and smooth days. But we weren’t saved to thrive in this futility; we’re saved for holy ways and better days.
The Bible warns us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewal of our minds (Rom. 12:2). Because we’ve been given the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), we now see the emptiness of worldly pursuits aimed at our comfort and glory. We’re meant for more, and the lures of this world fall short of the kingdom promises and eternal treasures that are ours in Christ.
Resistance is not futile. Remembering that our king will return for us gives us the courage to resist allegiance to any other kingdom and to live transformed lives for his glory alone.
3. Fuels Our Joy
As we’re anticipating the day of Christ’s return, we’re living in the days he’s ordained for us on earth (Ps. 139:16). But many of these moments are filled with heartache and loss. Jesus warned us we would suffer in this life (John 16:33). But our suffering isn’t wasted—God uses it to kindle our joy (James 1:2–4; Rom. 5:3–5). We can rejoice in suffering and count trials as joy because we know this world isn’t it. Christ will have the last word and he says today’s afflictions are preparing for us “an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17).Remembering that our king will return for us gives us the courage to resist allegiance to any other kingdom and to live transformed lives for his glory alone. Click To Tweet
We’re the most joyful people because we know, despite this day’s turmoil, that glorious day is coming when we will hurt and weep no more (Rev. 21:4). When we will join the great multitude from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev. 7:9–10).
Martin Luther said, “There are two days in my calendar: This day and that Day.” That day is coming. We know it, so let’s live like it. Let’s be ready for our king by being good and faithful servants in the limited time he’s given us on earth.