Most of us do find a way of getting a lot done under the pressure of the moment — especially when that moment is a trip, a conference, a hospital visit, a vacation, or some other similar deadline. In fact, it is absolutely amazing what we can do when we know an immovable deadline awaits us. We get motivated. We get passionate. We get after our responsibilities. We get busy completing our projects.
One of the great motivations for early Christians was their passionate faith that Jesus could return at any time. From the beginning of his ministry and the birth of his church on the day of Pentecost, the world entered what the Bible calls the "last days." (Acts 2:17; Hebrews 1:2) Jesus' return could come at any time on any day, so they lived with passion, holiness, and evangelistic zeal. (Matthew 25:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11) In the face of death, these early believers took comfort and found encouragement in their faith that Jesus' return would bring joyous reunion with their Lord and with their loved ones who believed in him. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
We live nearly two thousand years since Jesus' return to the Father. Should we live with that same passion? Absolutely! Jesus stands just outside the edge of history and will step across the threshold when the Father wills it to happen. It will come as a surprise to the world, but Jesus' followers will be anticipating it!
The issue of the Lord's return is not a matter of time or timing, but a matter of our being prepared. We are to live each day with the anticipation of the Lord's coming. This "deadline" should move us and motivate us to be all that the Lord has called us to be. When we lose this anticipation, we lose much of our edge to be a different kind of people — holy and wholly dedicated to God.
Listen to the reminders of Scripture and be motivated once again to live each day as if it is the eve of the Lord's return!
Another reason for right living is that you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for the coming of our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So don't live in darkness. Get rid of your evil deeds. Shed them like dirty clothes. Clothe yourselves with the armor of right living, as those who live in the light. (Romans 13:11-12 ERV)
But you must not forget, dear friends, that a day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and everything in them will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be exposed to judgment.
Since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives you should be living! You should look forward to that day and hurry it along — the day when God will set the heavens on fire and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world where everyone is right with God. (2 Peter 3:8-13)
I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me — the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)