Christians have been warned ever since the time of the apostles to watch and be prepared for the end of time. Time will end for every person either in death or the glorious return of Christ. We must be ready and watching.
A Christian begins his day desiring to do God’s will. He has a time of personal worship and asks God to watch over him, seeking his guidance in everything he will encounter that day. God honors his prayer and takes care of him. After many days with everything going quite well, he may begin to slip into a state of carelessness, feeling secure in himself. As he fails in his thanksgiving to God, his devotions grow less meaningful, and eventually he neglects to commune with God. He has drifted away from his Lord.
A lukewarm Christian who tries to prove his spirituality by merely following the traditions of Christian living may become deceived. He may give his time and money as good works. However, if he habitually follows only a lifestyle rather than the Holy Spirit, he could become deceived. It is a false sense of security when one feels safe following godly traditions without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus wants our hearts to be dedicated to Him. He wants us to have a viable relationship with Him. With this relationship, we will follow the traditions of Christians, but it will be a result of our love for God. “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (2 Thess. 2:15). We will not base our salvation on keeping customs or traditions, but keeping our dress modest and our lifestyle conservative is fruit of our dedication to God.
A Christian will follow the path where Jesus leads him even though He may lead him to places he never expected to go. Though he does not know how life will unfold, he will not deviate from the way of self-denial. To faithfully deny the flesh and follow Jesus is the only way to stay on the highway to heaven (Isa. 35:8).
Living a life for Jesus means loving others unconditionally. To withhold from people because I reason that they do not deserve what I could give for their benefit makes me a judge. “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way” (Rom. 14:13). To love other people and think about their salvation, seeking to kindly assist them in any way, is the hallmark of the Christian who is watching for his Lord’s return. Matthew 24:12 says that the love of many shall wax cold. We cannot love God if we do not love our fellowman (1 John 4:20).
In the parable of the ten virgins, the five virgins who were turned away lacked oil when the bridegroom came. They were not watching expectantly; rather, they had fallen into a lifestyle of complacency. They were turned away because they had failed to watch.
Our love for others is tested when someone mistreats us or says something bad about us. When someone cuts us off on the highway, how do we react? Do I respond in the way a child of God should respond? Is it the way I would act if I knew the Master was returning today?
Christians can determine if they are watching for the return of the Lord by how much they love the souls of men. Watching for the Master includes thinking of others’ well-being ahead of my own welfare. When I love God with all my heart and truly put others first, I am watching and prepared for the return of Christ.
From Adult and Youth Sunday School Lessons, February 23, 2020