Suddenly, a loud noise jarred me from my catnap and I looked up. President Clinton’s eyes met mine and I realized the President had witnessed me sleeping just before he took the podium. He smiled his friendly, wide-mouthed smile as if to say, “It’s okay. I understand,” and nodded to me with a wink and stepped up to the microphone. Despite his kind, nonverbal acknowledgement, I was mortified to have been caught sleeping!
In 2 Thessalonians 5: 2-9, Paul tells the church at Thessalonica to be prepared for the Lord’s return as He will come unexpectedly and quickly, like a thief in the night. In verse 6, he drills down on his message, “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.” Just like the assembly on the Capitol lawn that day awaiting an address from the President of the United States, Paul told the church that someone of utmost importance was going to make an appearance and they needed to be prepared. Paul even told the church how to keep vigilant in verse 8, “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”
The colloquial advice, “Wake up, dress up, show up” isn’t a hard concept. Get out of bed, make yourself presentable, and be where you are supposed to be. Truthfully, that simple phrase has prompted me to keep an appointment when I felt like canceling. It has also caused me to climb onto an elliptical when climbing back in bed felt more appealing. In short, it has caused me to pursue a more disciplined life.
Essentially Paul was saying the same thing to the Thessalonians. Stay awake! Embrace a life of discipline so you can be prepared for what is ahead! Discipline involves training your character to do the right things: obey God, follow through on commitments, live within your means, be a good steward, get wisdom and pursue optimal health. When we are prepared, we have no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed because we will be prepared for Christ’s return. Whether He returns within our lifetime or after, making good use of the time and resources entrusted to us will bring honor and glory to His name.
What can you do today that causes you to be a more alert follower of Christ? Put it on your to-do list right now. Seize the opportunity to focus your energy on staying awake, being alert, and expectantly waiting on Jesus!
Memory Verse: “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” I Thessalonians 5: 8 (NIV)
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