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Monday, May 23, 2011

The Surprise Inspection!

Due to certain aspects of my life in ministry that are beyond my control I am often away from my wife. It used to be that we would be a part for two and three months at a time, as she stayed in Romania, and I came to the US to travel and preach. As time passed and I grew wiser, the time we spent apart decreased in length, but even now, it is often that we are apart for a month to six weeks at a time.

When I am in our US apartment by myself, I live a certain way. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, I will never be mistaken for a clean freak. And so, knowing that my wife is on a different continent, knowing that I will be living by myself for the next few weeks, I tend to let things slide a little in regards to the overall cleanliness of our abode. The laundry has a tendency to pile up, pieces of cheese in the fridge begin to create their own eco systems sprouting furry fungi that is fun to look at but not very appetizing, and the potatoes under the sink start to sprout anew because I’d forgotten they were there.

Since I’m the one that always picks my wife up from the airport, I always know the day on which she arrives, and about a week before she is due to come, I start the cleaning process. By the time her arrival date rolls around, the apartment is clean, the carpet is vacuumed, the clutter and the books and the notepads that were once lying about everywhere are neatly stacked, or packed away in boxes, and our abode is once more livable.

I clean, and I organize, and even spritz a little air freshener in anticipation of my wife’s arrival, knowing the date, and being diligent to make sure that everything’s in order once she arrives. Now if her arrival date was unknown to me, chances are I would keep the apartment clean in perpetuity, and not just when I was expecting my wife to arrive.

So what does this have to do with anything other than revealing my dislike of having to clean?

It is the same mindset many believers fall into in regards to the return of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. Many souls believe that if they knew the date, they could take a few days beforehand and clean house, act pious, pray more, perhaps fast a couple days, so that when the Lord arrives, He will be thoroughly impressed with their spiritual state, applaud them for having so thoroughly cleansed their hearts of idols and sin, and welcome them into His eternal kingdom with open arms.

This selfsame reason is also why God will never reveal the day or the hour of Christ’s return to any man. God expects us to have a consistent, constant, perpetual and ongoing relationship with Him, not just clean house for fear of what He will find when He comes for His announced visit. The return of Christ will be more of a surprise inspection than an announced and planned visit, for He will return as a thief in the night, unexpectedly and suddenly.

It is this flawed mindset that if we knew the date, we could just hold our breath and press on for just a while longer knowing that the end is in sight that has caused many a souls heartache and disappointment. The yoke of Christ is not burdensome, He is not a cruel taskmaster wherein we look forward to the day when we will be free of our duty or the bondage of serving Him, and until that day arrives we just go through the motions hoping that whenever He looks down on us He sees us doing something productive so we pass the test.

We serve God and we worship Jesus out of love, out of passion, out of that desperate longing to be with Him, with the full assurance that one day He will return, one day we will be with Him in eternity, but until that day comes we worship Him joyfully not as a means to an end, but because He first loved us, and gave His all that we might have life in Him.

There is peace in accepting the truth that certain things will always remain a mystery, that we will never know the fullness of all things until we are one with Him in His kingdom, and that one of those mysteries is the day of His return. Knowing that He will one day return is enough for me; I serve Him, I worship Him, I praise Him and I fellowship with Him, less interested in when He will appear in the clouds, at peace in the simple knowledge that He will.

2 Peter 3:10-14, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; bot the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;”

Just a final thought on this matter, Peter encourages us to be diligent to be found by Christ in peace, without spot and blameless, not to waste our time trying to guess when He will return, not to put our hope in a date, not to follow after the twisted teachings of men, but simply to be found clothed in Him, conducting ourselves in holy conduct and godliness hastening the coming of the day of the Lord.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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