Sunday, November 29, 2009

Preparing for a Thief to Rob Your House

When my oldest son was only a year old, I drove him to Oma’s house for a change of scenery. Even though our knocks on the back door showed nobody was home, I put him down and began wiggling the key in the always-difficult lock and then pushed my knee into the stubborn door, hearing it squeak slowly open from its too tight frame.

One step forward and I froze as my gaze reached across the room to fix on the front door standing wide open.

Over the past few months, one house after another on our road had been struck by thieves. And yet my it-won’t-happen-to-me mind was in such shock that I just stood as my son’s small feet padded right into the house and across the room to the open door.

What should I do? Should I close the front door? Call the police? Check to see if anything was missing first?

Shaky fingers pulled the phone from my hip pocket and dialed my husband. One of his first questions was whether the door to the hallway and bedrooms was closed.

It was. The robbers could still be in the house.

“Get out of there,” my husband said.

In a matter of seconds, I was across the room, son tucked under my arm as I fled the house and put my van in gear, not even taking the time to strap him in the car seat as I raced back home.

Once the two of us were safely locked inside our fortress, I sank to the floor and unloaded the stress of the past few minutes in a flood of choking tears. How could I have been so STUPID to just stand there!? I could have gotten us both killed.

The answer is simple. I wasn’t prepared. I knew the risk of thieves breaking in, but I hadn’t prepared because I didn’t really believe the risk applied to me.

How similar is this truth to the relationship many people have with The Bible? They believe it with their minds, but their actions show their heart believes it doesn’t really apply to them.

For instance, Scripture speaks of a “great white throne” of judgment for all “the dead, great and small” (Rev. 20:11-12, 15). It speaks of faith in Jesus Christ alone as being the only way to escape God’s “coming wrath” on judgment day (1 Thes. 1:10). And yet many are living in rebellion to God’s commands because they believe God’s lovingkindness, goodness and mercy alone will save them from hell in the end.

Jesus’ last sermon warned against this kind of false belief. In one of several parables describing our need to be prepared for His return, He describes himself as a thief. Jesus said, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matt. 24:42-44).

What a strange metaphor for Jesus to use. But imagine a midnight break-in at your own house. How fearful would you be? What terror would strike your heart?

This same fear will be found in the hearts of many when Jesus returns. For the unrighteous person, it will literally be a moment of fear and because of the judgment to come.

Earlier through the prophet Amos, God also warned that the unrepentant in Israel should not to look forward to the day of the Lord: “Alas, you who are longing for the day of the LORD, For what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you? It will be darkness and not light; As when a man flees from a lion And a bear meets him, Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall And a snake bites him. Will not the day of the LORD be darkness instead of light, Even gloom with no brightness in it?” (Amos 5:18-20).

These two passages are not how we want to view Christ’s return. My own mind soars in joyous anticipation at the thought of the eastern skies breaking open and my Jesus descending from heaven to take His throne as King of all heaven and earth. I can almost hear the Statler Brothers singing on one of my childhood records: “ Oh the King is coming, The King is coming PRAISE GOD, He's coming for me!”

Judgment day will be a time of joy for those found in Christ. But it will also be the horrible end for those who have not repented. The point? We all need to prepare. Whether that preparation is deciding that now is the time to put your faith in Christ alone or deciding to live a more committed, faithful, obedient life for Christ.

Like a thief--Jesus is coming soon.

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