Is the hope for Jesus’ return close to your heart and mind as it was for first century disciples who believed that Jesus would return in their lifetime?
If you’re like many believers, the answer is “no.” It’s so easy to be distracted and lose our focus on Jesus — not just His second coming but anything related to Him. The Devil, an expert in deception, wants Christ’s followers to love Him less, to become lukewarm and overly busy. But when we’re close to God in covenant relationship with Jesus, when He is the focus of our thoughts and actions, there’s little threat for serious distraction and greater opportunity to love Him more.
Oddly enough, one of the hardest things is for us to openly proclaim our love for Jesus. Often we justify silence because speaking up isn’t part of our church culture or part of our personality. Excuses are aplenty.
We can be glad, however, that times are changing within our church fellowships and in our personal lives. More people are coming to a knowledgeable faith of how Jesus works in us — that He knocks on our heart’s door but doesn’t push in. We must reach for the handle. Only when we swing open the door does Jesus intimately come into our lives.
We are called into a responsive relationship with Jesus — a covenant relationship bound by both expectation and responsibility. This relationship becomes a deep, intimate, and accountable friendship.
When it comes to covenant relationship, baptism is the touchstone of all relationship standards. It brings us into marriage communion with Jesus Christ himself, sealed with the Holy Spirit.
The seed of the Spirit is planted at baptism with the laying on of hands. As years go by, that Spirit grows mightily, working with us and through us. When we enter the depths of a communion that will transcend and transform us into the very image of God’s Son, our eyes become fixed on Jesus and His kingdom. We desire nothing this world can offer. Every other relationship, every other offer, and every temptation pales into insignificance. Even our immediate families, spouses, parents, and children on this earth must become secondary to the relationship we have in Christ Jesus.
In union with Christ, we are in love with Him, His Word, His majesty, His righteousness, His will and purpose, His love and attention, His awe and glory — to which nothing compares.
Thus, we find ourselves talking about Jesus all the time. He’s the head of every table, the Lord of our hearts. We openly confess our love for Him. His wisdom and presence adorn every gray hair, which the Father numbers. He is in our inner thoughts. His Word and will mold our days and shape our lives. We approach His throne of grace in all areas of our personal and family’s lives, especially in the matter of finding godly spouses for our children — even praying for their spouses decades before they meet. We ask God for His help and guidance in all areas of our lives. Because of that covenantal relationship, we want Him from that moment onward to shape our destiny, only achieved by surrendering our will.
As the love of God grows in us and we become a new creation in Christ, we become creatures of love. Telling those around us how much we love them because of Him becomes our testimony. Our actions will speak of love. Our children will feel loved, as well as be loved. Our motives will be understood through the lens of love. Discipline will not be harsh but loving, with kindly eye-to-eye contact. People around us will feel and experience that love and ultimately attribute it to God’s glory. We will truly be Jesus’ disciples when we love each other.
To grow and thrive, love must come from God’s Holy Spirit. It has to be in everything we say. Even the truth must be spoken in love! Because of love, we will listen intently to those in our families, churches, and communities. Those who oppose us we will kindly entreat. We will also be wise to the Devil’s ruses, the attractive distractions that can, if only momentarily, confuse us should we take our eyes off Jesus. When we’re tested, the fruits of our love in Christ will unite families and bring people together who also are in Christ.
Results of relationship
Yes, Jesus is coming one day — maybe in our lifetime. Now more than ever, may our focus be open and transparent before Christ first, and then to each other. May we be counted worthy to stand before Jesus. May there be no straw or chaff in our lives but only grain, and may we produce good fruit.
May we be people of the Book and use it wisely. May we be people quick to bless, quick to forgive, easy to entreat, eager to please. May our lives, in every detail, reflect the union we have with and in Jesus Christ.BA