"You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Luke 12:40
Periodically, current world events stir up discussion about the endtimes. While I believe in the importance of being ready for Christ’s return, I don’t put much stock in date setters who think they have the timing all figured out. After all, it has been over 20 years since the book, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988 was published! In America, the book took Christians by storm, and, as the president of Moody Bible Institute at that time, I received dozens of copies from well-meaning saints who wanted us to spread the word through Moody Radio that Jesus was coming back on September 18. Since Jesus said that no one knew the time of His return, I dismissed the book as another Bible crackpot publication.
But to this day I’ll never forget getting up on the morning of September 18th. As skeptical as I was, I couldn’t help but wonder, What if the guy who wrote this book is right? What if this is my last day on earth? Our family talked about it at the breakfast table. And as my daughter walked down the driveway on her way to school, she turned around and said with a smile, “Hey, Dad—see ya in heaven.”
I couldn’t help but think how right that sounded. I found myself thinking that I should live every day as though this were my last day here—the day that He returns to take me home; the day that I will at last see Him face-to-face! I thought about how differently I would treat people, how interested I would be to share the gospel with friends and colleagues, how I would want to clear up past offenses and live to be really pure and ready. As Jesus said in Luke 12, “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home . . . . Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes” (Luke 12:35-37).
So here are four habits of hearts that are fixed on heaven:
- Be confidently riveted on His sudden return. Remember, He will come “like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).
- Be pure. Throughout the New Testament, the strongest motivation for purity was always connected to the return of Jesus (1 John 3:3).
- Refuse to get stuck here. After all, as people of faith, we are “strangers and exiles” here (Hebrews 11:13).
- Invest in eternity. Commit your time and resources to kingdom gain and values (Luke 12:33).
God wants heaven to be the fire in your heart. As a friend of mine says, our lives here should be a sneak preview of the really big show to come!
See ya in heaven!
- Think about the things you did yesterday. What would you have done differently if it had been your last day? How will that make a difference in the way you live today? Be specific. Think of people you should call, or people you should hug.
- Are you passionate about heaven? If not, make a list of some things that might be hindering your passion.
- Which of the four habits is the easiest for you? Which one is the hardest?
- Have you ever thought of yourself as an “exile” on this planet? How does that identity help bring eternal things into focus?