In last week’s article we asked the question, “To whom have you pledged your sword?” We noted how important objectives are in life. We also mentioned how critical it is that we know who’s setting the objectives that we are striving to achieve.
For Christ followers, Jesus highlighted our overall life objectives in Matthew 22:36-39. These are to love God and to love others. These are our highest level objectives. Pursuing these, however, can take many forms. We are all gifted in different ways, and thus our service to God and to others will have various expressions. Discovering how it is that God gifted and created you to serve can be among the most fulfilling parts of life.
If you’ve not done so before, we encourage you to pray for clarity concerning how the Lord would have you love him and others. He created you as an individual. You have a unique blend of gifts, talents, and experiences that make you a valuable part of God’s kingdom. This being the case, it’s important to be sensitive to God’s leading on a daily basis. Consider making it a habit to regularly pray for direction. This can be as simple as saying, “Lord, help me today to see ways in which I can love others.”
As we seek direction from God and pursue his objectives, it’s also important to be aware of the context in which we operate at this point in history.
As Jesus walked the earth and spent three years or so with his Disciples, he periodically reminded them of what was coming. He wanted them to know that the times ahead would be challenging. He also wanted them to be aware that there is an end point. There is a fixed day, known only to God the Father, on which everything will change. Life as people have known it since the beginning will suddenly end. This will be followed by a time of judgement, and then Christ followers will enjoy eternity with God in a new heaven and earth as described in Revelation chapters 21 and 22.
To many, Jesus’ teachings on what’s to come are foolishness. Even in his own times many scoffed at his words. And yet to those who believe him, to those who faithfully follow Jesus, his teachings as recorded in the Bible are the basis for everything. They set the context for life, death, eternity, and how we are to live our life now. Consider the words of Jesus as recorded in Mark 13:32-37 (ESV) as he spoke about the final day:
But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake – for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning – lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.
Jesus shared these words with his Disciples toward the end of their time together. Jesus would soon be arrested and killed. In sharing these words, he set the context in which his followers, then and now, live and pursue their objectives.
Three times in this passage Jesus uses the Greek word “grēgoreuō.” This has been translated in the ESV as “stay awake.” The word means to remain vigilant so that we are not suddenly overtaken by events.
Here’s the interesting part. Those who don’t accept biblical faith have no reason to remain spiritually vigilant. They assume life has little meaning and will continue on as it has since whenever it is they think it began. Their objectives are based on their own views and desires as opposed to God’s will as revealed to us in the Bible.
Christ followers, however, trust Jesus. We know in our hearts that Jesus’ words are true. We live our lives with the certain knowledge that one day, perhaps before we pass away, everything will suddenly change. We know that between now and then we need to remain spiritually vigilant, and to be faithfully following our Lord as we pursue the objectives he has set for us.
So what does it look like for us to stay awake? That depends on what it is the Lord has for you to do. We are all to live life in the context of what Jesus said would come. We therefore remain faithful, and seek to love God and others. In part, this involves sharing our faith and praying that those whom God brings into our life will receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. And yet, our individual and unique roles and objectives in this life are determined as we faithfully seek direction from the Lord and follow as he leads.
What could be more meaningful? There’s no greater privilege in life than to faithfully serve the King with whom we will spend eternity. And there’s no greater purpose in life than to respectfully invite others into the Kingdom, and to love them and pray for them as we journey through life together. Let’s commit to praying for each other as we seek to remain spiritually vigilant and faithful to our Lord in this challenging world.