Sadly, it appears to me that much of “the church” in the West has forgotten this simple statement in Colossians 3:1-2 – “Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” We sing differently and talk differently, but our actions show otherwise. For the most part our day to day lives reflect the idea that it is still about us and our life here and we operate as if that is going to go on forever (despite the fact that evidence is rapidly increasing that we are nearing the end of the “end times.”) The attitude seems to be that of 2 Peter 3:4 – “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” One popular author even claims that “Your best life (is) now.” But considering that this life is very short compared to ETERNITY, do you really want your best life to be now?! The subtle (or even not so subtle) attitude in the church has actually seemed to become that God’s whole purpose is to bless us and make our lives pleasant. Although there is no question that God desires to bless us, that should still not be our focus – Jesus said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
Jesus also said, “Watch out! Don’t let my sudden coming catch you unawares; don’t let me find you living in careless ease, carousing and drinking, and occupied with the problems of this life, like all the rest of the world.” (Luke 21:34-35 TLB) Yet honestly, how much of our time, focus, resources and energy is preoccupied with the pleasures or problems of this life verses “the Kingdom of Heaven”? Jesus, in fact, predicted that this would be the position of many who claim to follow Him – “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” (Luke 8:14)
You will notice I said the church in the West, because the truth of the matter is, the church in much of the rest of the world is living under great hardship and persecution and has been crying out, “Come Lord Jesus!” for some time. But it seems the church in the West isn’t so interested in Him coming any time soon – for what then, does that mean would happen to our 401Ks and plans for retirement? (“Can you hang on Jesus and just let me finish school, get that great job, house, get married, have kids, take that vacation…?”)
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” – (Mark 13:32-37)
Are YOU sleeping or watching?