Are You Preparing for the Christmas Holidays?December 1, 2017
Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
— 2 Peter 3:14
This is the time of the year when many people decorate their houses and dress things up for the Christmas season. People elaborately decorate the interior of their homes, sometimes even with multiple Christmas trees for different rooms, each tree adorned in a different style. They line the exterior of their homes, trees, and shrubs in colorful, flashing lights. People are so committed to this tradition, in fact, that many begin decorating a few days before Thanksgiving Day and then keep the decorations up until just after the New Year.
When I was a young boy, my family always had a Christmas tree, but we didn’t hang exterior lights on our house, trees, or shrubs. Yet each year my parents would pile all of us Renner kids into the car, and we’d drive around the neighborhood the week prior to Christmas to see how other people had decorated their homes. Then we’d drive across our city to a particular shopping mall to gaze at the beautifully illuminated trees. The sight was so beautiful that it looked nearly magical. It was a special family moment in our holiday festivities that we really enjoyed and looked forward to each year.
That was decades ago. Today people are more elaborate than ever before in the way they decorate their homes for the Christmas season. It can take many hours, a lot of manpower, and large amounts of money for people to adorn their homes the way many do today. The effect is beautiful and truly changes a neighborhood into a spectacular sight during this special time of year.
I appreciate the time and effort people put into celebrating at Christmastime. It is something I really miss, living in Russia, because Russians do not decorate for the Christmas season. However, regardless of how beautiful and ornate Christmas decorations are, they are all seasonal and temporary. The decorations go up, and then they are taken down, put away in boxes, and stored until the next Christmas season rolls around.
*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]
No condemnation is implied in this question, but when I see the manpower, time, and money people put into celebrating Christmas, I often wonder, While people are putting so much manpower, time, and money into decorating their Christmas trees and homes to celebrate Christ’s first coming, I wonder what kind of effort they are putting forth to prepare for His NEXT coming?
In Second Peter 3, the apostle Peter wrote an entire section of Scripture about how to be prepared for Jesus’ return — a task that requires an entirely different level of dedication than it takes to put up decorations for a short-lived Christmas season. Preparing for Christ’s return requires a lifelong commitment. In Second Peter 3:14, Peter wrote, “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things [referring to the coming of the Lord], be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”
First, Peter pled with us to “look” for the next coming of the Lord. The word “look” is from a Greek word that means to earnestly wait for with sincere and unrelenting conviction. In other words, we must have a constant awareness that the Lord could return at any moment. Christ’s coming for the Church should be such a reality in our hearts that we constantly wait for it with a conviction that consumes us and keeps us on our toes, so to speak.
Verse 14 says we need to be “diligent” in waiting for the Lord to come. The word “diligent” is the Greek word spoudadzo, which gives the sense of constant readiness and diligence. It means to work hard; to give it your best shot; to give it effort; or to commit yourself to it entirely and constantly. In other words, this kind of preparation is not seasonal or on-and-off according to the whims of emotions. It is a firm commitment to constantly be ready for the coming of Christ.
When I say “diligent,” I’m talking about a perpetual attitude that is conscientious and persistent and that never lets go of constantly preparing for Christ’s return for His saints. It is a conviction that one must never stop being ready and prepared for that grand moment. It is “decorating” one’s life with godly traits every day of the year!
Christ is coming back for His Church! If Christmastime reminds us of anything, it should be that since He came once, He will come again. Therefore, we must be constantly on guard and in a state of preparation so that He will find us fully “spiritually decorated” upon His arrival. He longs to find us “…in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Peter 3:14). If we would diligently and constantly work on adorning our spiritual lives with the same effort and dedication we put forth naturally to decorate our homes for Christmas, Christ would find us in splendid condition when He returns!
So I want to ask you today — what are you doing to make sure your spiritual life is fully decorated with life, godliness, purity, and spiritual power when Christ returns? If He were to come today, would He find you adorned with these godly attributes or lacking them? As you spend manpower, time, and money to decorate your physical house, it would be prudent for you to ask yourself if Christ would find these other vital qualities in your life when He returns for His Church. Forgive me for being so blunt, but are you putting as much into your heart and spiritual condition as you are putting into your physical decorations? That’s something for you to think about today.
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I ask You to help me look truthfully at my own spiritual condition to determine if I am doing all I should to prepare for the coming of the Lord. There is no doubt that He is coming — and He is coming soon. But am I living in a way that will bring Him pleasure when He comes? This is a hard question to ask and pray, but I feel the need to be honest with myself and with You about it today, Lord. Speak to my heart, Holy Spirit, and reveal to me the areas where I need to put forth more effort into my spiritual life. I ask You to strengthen me with might in my inner man to be courageous, persistent, and diligent until it is done.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that how I adorn and decorate my life with godliness and holiness is more important than how I physically decorate my house for Christmastime. I want to be found pleasing to the Lord when He comes. Therefore, to get myself ready for His coming — and to stay prepared for His coming — is the chief goal of my life. Whatever changes I need to make, I am willing to make. Whatever God is calling me to lay aside, I am willing to lay aside. More than anything else, I want to be a vessel that is found pleasing to Jesus when He comes for His Church. Lord, if there is any hint of anything in me that is unwilling to yield to this as my chief desire, I declare that it’s moving out and being replaced by an unrelenting desire to be pleasing to You as the chief desire of my life.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Jesus’ first coming is, of course, worth celebrating, for it was the beginning of deliverance and salvation for the But in addition to decorating the interior and exterior of your home, what are you doing to prepare your heart for the soon coming of Jesus for His Church?
- Do you live with a daily awareness that Christ will soon return? Does the condition of your heart, your mind, and your soul reflect that the blessed hope of eternity consistently influences how you choose to live? What changes do you need to make in your spiritual life?
- What are you doing to help others get their lives in order to be prepared to meet the Lord in peace? Do you regularly reach out to share the Gospel with people who need to know Christ as their Savior?