Matthew 24:43-44 (NLT)
Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.
I am ready. I am more than ready for this season of our life to be over and give way to the new one that we have been promised. Yes, I am talking about our immediate trial. I am sick of cancer. I am sick of hospitals, tests and appointments. I am over interruptions and separation. I am done. We have come so far with no real closure. As the days became weeks turning into months changing into years – enough is enough. Or is it? I woke up this morning with that feeling you get when you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Praise God, I am not really sick in my body but my mind and spirit are sick of this present course it has been battling. I am tired. I am roommates with a night owl who likes to stay up all night. I am far from my comfortable bed. I am out of my element and far from home yet could not imagine begin anywhere else at the present time. Insert a very large sigh right about here. I do not like the agitation grating my nerves or the taunting in my ear to throw my hands up. The enemy wants me to give up and throw the towel in. But I refuse, I guess I am just too stubborn for that and I really hate to lose. So I have cried out to the Lord this morning to please move me, fix me or quiet me in this place so that I can fulfill His Purpose for my life. I am ready. But am I really ready?
“You must be ready all the time.” Jesus will come when He is least expected. I have been looking for Him. I see the signs of the times all around. Love has grown cold. Sin is now rampant. The church has fallen in love with religion forsaking real relationships with Christ. Christians are being persecuted for their faith. Oh we are in a real mess right about now. So, am I ready? The trials of my life that seem so overwhelming are being used by the Lord to make me ready. The fire of refinement burns beneath my faith forcing out the impurities. It is a difficult process. Am I ready for Jesus or ready for relief is the real question to be answered. I looked up this word “ready” to see what it really means to determine my condition. Ready means to be completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate action or use. It means to be duly equipped, completed, adjusted or arranged for an occasion or purpose. It means to be willing. It is a prompt or quick response, action or performance. My idea of ready and the world’s definition are not quite the same. God’s Idea of readiness and mine are far apart as well. He wants me to be complete. I just want to be done.
John 13:36-38 (NLT)
Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.” “But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.” Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.
Peter was not ready. He felt like he was ready to follow Jesus Christ to the end. But when the time came, he was not ready at all. This is not entirely his fault, God had a purpose for Peter. He was to be a founder of the New Testament church that could not begin until after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Are you ready to die for Jesus Christ? I am not sure that I would if put in that position in all honesty. I just don’t know. It is happening today. As barbaric as it sounds, there are believers around the world being executed for failure to renounce their faith in God. I watched a video the other day of a Chinese underground church receiving a shipment of Bibles. I was completely humbled in that moment as men and women were reduced to sobbing just to hold God’s Word in their hands. Something we as a church take for granted barely citing it in our services as not to offend in our seeker sensitive congregations. We each have been given a purpose decided by God. The end result will be fulfillment and it will take our entire life to get there. So if like me you think you are ready, we should probably think again or end up next to the fire rather than right on it denying His Name.
Ephesians 3:18-20 (NLT)
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
I have decided that when I truly understand the potential of God’ Love through Jesus Christ, I will no longer struggle in the process of readiness. His Love is too great to fully comprehend. No one could adequately describe it with words. But as we strive to experience its true potential something happens in our life as we begin to encounter the fullness of life and power found in that place of undeserved privilege. When we decide that God is able to do a mighty work in us greater than we can think or ask, we stay grounded and locked in our position. I want all that God has planned and purposed for my life. Though every fiber of my being cries out for release and relief from this constant pressure, I refuse to move. I am ready. I must wait until He is ready!
Ephesians 1:22-23 (NLT)
God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
Everything has been put under the authority of Jesus Christ. To be ready, I must include myself, too. Yes we have been given grace. Yes we have been set free. But if you read on our freedom is best used in complete surrender to Jesus Christ. Why? He has all power and authority in the earth. The church no longer sees surrender as fashionable. In fact, obedience is considered old fashion. We discredit those scriptures that might seem to restrict our “freedom” and call them Old Testament. The dispensation of grace was not for the proliferation of sin. Grace is not a smoke screen to hide a rebellious, sinful lifestyle. Grace is not bathwater that we use to come in and out of God’s Presence. As our authority, His Expectations are delineated in His Word. We should be buried deep in it every day. Our pulpits should be digging into the Truth every single service without fail. No sermon is complete without scripture no matter how Biblically based it may be. I challenge men and women of God to use the Bible more in their message or your people will not use it at home. I have sat through many church services where the speaker may have opened his or her Bible and even referenced it but never actually read anything out of it line by line or precept by precept. No wonder there is no obedience in the church. No wonder the Body of Christ is divorcing itself with church splits and division. I have been married a long time and I will be the first to tell you a successful marriage is impossible without Jesus Christ. It is close proximity to Christ that makes us ready. (Colossians 2:9-10)
Ephesians 4:13-14 (NLT)
This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.
Wow, this verse stings just a bit (or a lot) today. I sound like a petulant child who wants my way. Maybe that is exactly what I am in my tirade before the Lord today. Please forgive me. Sin took away God’s Glorious Standard that He wanted for my life. Jesus Christ offers to make me measure up to the full and complete standard once again. Spiritual maturity is readiness. I must become spiritually mature. Without knowledge, people perish even believers. It is not enough to ready it in a book, but I must apply what I believe to my life to make it credible. “Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God.” (James 2:21-23) Faith and action work together proving willingness. To be ready is to be willing. Are you willing today to really live for Jesus Christ? No matter what are you going to believe God? Those who do will be called His Friends. We must become mature believes who take the Word and apply it to our life daily, regularly without fail. We must become mature in our faith so that we can discern the Truth from a lie. We must continue this process from now until the end.
I Corinthians 9:24-27 (NLT)
Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
To answer my own question, I am not ready. If I were ready, I would run with purpose in every step rather than starting and stopping on any given day. I need to continue to look to the Lord for discipline and discernment so I will keep running. There is purpose in every step that I take ordained by God (Psalm 139:16) and being worked out by His Hand. (Romans 8:28) If only I would trust Him more, I would not have days like this or least not so often. Readiness requires preparation and discipline. I have a long way to go. I will never finish the race if I refuse to run it. I will not finish the race if unprepared or unwilling to go the distance. I must train my mind, soul and body for endurance to make it to the end. Only there will I find the true prize. I must discipline my mind, soul and body that giving up or quitting is never an option. I must always follow the rules. Never getting tied up in civilian affairs. (2 Timothy 2:3-5) But keep fighting for the finish! Those who endure will be saved. (Matthew 24:13) Faith must be tested to increase our endurance. Where there is endurance, there will be completion. (James 1:2-4) I want the reward that is promised those who are saved. I want forever with Jesus so I am ready to run! (James 1:11)
2 Timothy 2:20-21 (NLT)
In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.
I want the Lord to use me for every good work. Sometimes I just need to be reminded that I am not ready to submit my life to preparation in the Hands of God. His Word is my comfort place for His Promise are real. My faith is the only strength I have to keep running. It is hope that keeps me reaching past my fears, worry and doubt to know Him more. Endurance is not for the weak but the willing. Those who are willing to surrender their newfound freedom to find their purpose in Christ. I for one have to know that there is more to life than this. I must submit my life in obedience to the Lord and continually strive to do good even when I want to sit on the floor and pitch a tantrum about my circumstances humbling my life to His Greater Cause which always is for my blessing and benefit. (Titus 3:1-2) So Lord, forgive my insistence today that I am ready when clearly I am not. I have a great deal to do before I am ready for Your Return so I will focus on that while you work out the details of my life to Divine Perfection (Psalm 138:8) turning every detail for our good. (Romans 8:28) Lord, I want to be ready as in completely prepared for immediate action for Your Purpose and Plan. I long to be duly equipped, completed, adjusted and positioned to have Your Will for my life. Father, make me willing by breaking my heart to fill it with more faith as I learn to trust you more in my total weakness. Lord make me quick, prompt and ready to respond, perform or as you would have me to every day in every situation. For Jesus I now know that only then will I be ready for You!
Hebrews 13:20-22 (NLT)
Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.