2 Timothy 4:1-8: I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
It’s a common practice between Chresten and I to keep in touch regularly when we are a part. When either of us is away from home, knowing the other is at home expecting, we make an effort to make contact and acknowledge, “hey, I’m heading your way and I’ll be there in just a few minutes”. (I’m old enough to remember when such technology made this process much more complicated and required a quarter in your purse or pocket for the pay phone!) As I was preparing to leave the grocery store parking lot just yesterday, I picked up my phone and sent a text to my Home Base, alerting him I was traveling his way. While this creates a sense of accountability for the two of us, it also fosters a sense of security. “I’m yours, you’re mine. I desire your company.”
Paul wrote to his spiritual son, Timothy, in chapter four of his second letter, reminding him of the urgency with which he was writing concerning the spread of the Gospel. In verse eight Paul brought his efforts full circle: “This effort is important, but the winner of the Fight receives a supreme reward. I’m headed to the Winner’s Circle soon, but don’t forget you can join me in collecting the prize for a fight well fought!” The key element involved simply was loving Christ’s appearing.
Often we overlook this simplistic yet critical element involved in making Heaven our eternal home. Yes, the gift of eternal life is indeed a gift–something we could never give to ourselves, but can only receive via the grace and mercy of God through the acceptance of His Son Jesus’s sacrifice on the Cross. But keeping the gift and receiving the prize involve this continual awareness in our hearts of surrender and faithfulness to His Cause. Living according to His Word is required. And ultimately, the Righteous Judge will reward the crown of righteousness to those who have loved His appearing. The Amplified Bible paraphrases this powerful text like this:
8 In the future there is reserved for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that [great] day—and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and longed for and welcomed His appearing.
Oh, the Victor’s Crown! That’s what I’m after, aren’t you? If we truly desire such a reward, we must be in the daily practice of loving, longing, and welcoming His appearing. Will Jesus come back to receive His Bride (the Redeemed Church) today? We don’t know. But we must be longing for Christ’s return. We cannot allow ourselves to become so infatuated with all that is taking place here on planet Earth that we underestimate all that lies just beyond on planet Heaven.
As I take my girls to school each weekday morning, we drive toward the east. The sun is typically rising about the same time and I remind my girls on a frequent basis: “Ladies, Jesus could come back today! And He is coming from that direction!” What an amazing day that will be! Join me today and send a message to your Heavenly Father, “Lord, I’m headed home! I’m yours. You’re mine. I desire Your company.”
If you are not sure you are READY for Christ’s soon return, let’s get you ready! Click here for more information about how to receive the most amazing Gift ever offered to mankind. We look forward to hearing from you about this life-changing day!