What a week!
Here in Norman, we have gone through two rounds of severe storms and another one is on its way as I write this post. My neighborhood was hit particularly hard so I have been busy repairing the damage done to my own property and helping neighbors do the same to theirs.
On Wednesday night our family had to get into our tornado shelter twice. And we learned that we weren’t as “tornado-ready” as we thought. So during a break in the storms on Thursday we took the time to make sure that our shelter was stocked with the necessary supplies, that we had all of our important documents in a secure place, that we had some available cash on hand, and that we had all the important contacts programmed into our phones and backed up.
That experience uncovered a desire in me to live in a state of readiness, because, as much as we don’t like to think about it, we never truly know what the day will bring or what we need to prepared for at a moment’s notice. Not only do I want to be ready for a tornado, I also want to be ready for a health scare (which means I need to make a few changes to my lifestyle) and a financial scare. I also want to be physically and mentally ready for those who need my help when they go through “scares” in their lives.
But more than anything else, I want to spiritually ready for anything.
And the Bible talks a lot about being ready. Here’s just a few things that Christ-followers are expected to be ready for…
1. We need to be ready for the final judgment of Jesus. Luke 12:40 says, “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Jesus will not return like a tornado that can be forecasted, anticipated, and tracked. We do not know when Jesus is coming back, so the best thing to do is to live in a constant state of readiness. This is why Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:20, wrote: “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
2. We need to be ready to follow Christ wherever he leads us. In Luke 22:33 Peter declared to Jesus, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” In the next verse Jesus told Peter that he would deny him three times, which, of course, Peter did in the final moments before the crucifixion of Jesus. But Peter learned from his mistake, and later was imprisoned and put to death because of his witness for Christ – and Peter’s faith never faltered in those moments. Peter was not always ready to follow Christ wherever that might lead but he became ready. He learned that Jesus was true and faithful and worthy. He became convinced that what he gained through Jesus was worth far more than anything he might lose on earth. Following Jesus is not always easy and following him well will take us to some dangerous places and some dangerous people. So, when we say that we want to follow Jesus, we better be ready to follow him wherever he leads us.
3. We need to be ready to share the gospel and ourselves with others. Paul once told the Christians in Thessalonica that he and his co-workers were “ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8). We need to love others enough to share the gospel and ourselves with them as a testimony of our love for Christ and of Christ’s love for others. This means that I must get rid of my selfishness. This means that I must stop being so absorbed in my own thoughts. This means that I must become a better listener. That way I will be ready to spot the opportunity that God has created for me to share with another person the good news that Jesus loves them.
4. We need to be ready to share our resources. First Timothy 6:17-19 says, “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”
5. We need to be ready for the party! Revelation 19:6-8 imagines our ultimate victory in Jesus like this: “Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.”
It’s important to note that Revelation 19:6-8 tells us that we can make ourselves ready by clothing ourselves in the righteousness of Jesus – a righteousness that calls us and moves us to do righteous deeds in the name of Jesus.
So, are you ready?
If so, continue to live in a state of readiness and help others become spiritually ready.
If not, start making yourself ready by learning about and living out the righteousness of Christ.