Living In The Ready
"You also must be ready therefore, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him".- Matthew 24:44
How are the servants of Jesus Christ to be, and remain, "ready" for His coming? By providing spiritual food for His household, the household of God's children.
It is to be at the right time, and the right food for the right household. The servants of God's household should not grow weary of serving His household. They are to guard against growing tired of "well doing" (Galatians 6:9: 2 Thessalonians 3:13) and become discouraged and frustrated when it seems that the members of the household do not want the proper food for the proper time, according to the needs of the time.
Sometimes, they refuse to eat, and become malnourished. They begin not to desire meat in due season. They can prefer milk when they should be able to eat strong meat (Hebrews 5:12-14). In these times it becomes easy for His servants to grow weary of coping with the members of the household, and resentful, and begin to take their condition personally. They become confused about Christ's coming. They are weary, too. The warning Christ gave all is to be ready. He plainly states that we will never know exactly when He will come. He could come anytime. The servants of God's household have three basic responsibilities:
--First, to be personally ready - all the time. Otherwise, the "household" is at risk.
--Second, to continually feed the household what they need, not necessarily what they want.
--Third, to serve them with love unconditionally.
By loving them the server will not abuse, turn against them, or serve improper food for their need.
It has always been difficult for the servants of Christ to live in the "anytime", and in the "ready" mode.. It is so now, and will undoubtedly become more and more difficult. But His mandate is clear and simple. The Apostle Paul warned that the time would come when people will come to resist sound teaching. They tend to desire only "smooth things, teaching that makes them feel good about themselves, regardless of what they need to be well nourished spiritually. Some, who should be ready for strong meat (Isaiah 30:10), will continue to accept only the "milk' of the Word (Hebrews 5:12-13). They will accept a feel good teaching only. But Jesus desires that they be fed meat in due season, as His servants work patiently and lovingly to encourage them to grow in grace and knowledge. They must all continue to endure living in the ready time - regardless of the times..
As the last days draw closer, Jesus - and the Apostle Paul - predicted that there would be an accelerating increase in lawlessness (Matthew 24:10-13). Unlawfulness destroys the motivation to love and all of its manifestations. If there is a lack of love, a vacuum is opened into which lawlessness rushes in to fill. One of the first evidences of the breakdown of love is a lack of restraint, and more hostility, in word and deed. Love and lawlessness are constantly in a state of flux, shifting back and forth. In the last days, this condition will accentuate. Those who endure to the end will be saved because their love has not grown cold, or replaced by the spirit of lawlessness.
As lawlessness increases, the love of many otherwise kind and loving people will begin to grow cold and harden. Ironically, it is love that defends against the rampant lawlessness, and enables one to "endure". The more love defends, the more intense the lawlessness becomes. It is easy for love to decrease. We see this addressed in Christ's letter to the Ephesians (Revelation 2:1-7). Love is the one attribute that Satan attempts to weaken and destroy more than anything else since God is love. And as God's love grows and increases in the Christian, the more this draws Satan's attention. If he can destroy the love of God in the Christian, he can effectively keep the Christian from enduring until the end. All this coincides with Paul's warnings (2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).
Jesus has shown us the danger of drifting into complacency while waiting for His return. We can't play catchup spiritually, waiting until the last moment (when we do not know when that moment will be), to do what we should have been doing all along (Matthew 25:1-10). But He has been giving us time all long. We are still living in the be ready time.
He continues to wait for us to be ready - are we and His household ready?.