We are not of the night or of darkness. So let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
1 Thessalonians 5:5,6
St. Paul writes to the Thessalonians about being ready for the return of our Lord in power and glory to judge the living and the dead. He warns that this day will come suddenly, like a thief in the night. It will take many by surprise. But not us.
How can we have an inside tip on when the Lord will return? As our Lord Himself said, no one knows the day or the hour. It isn't that we will have the inside scoop. Rather, since we will live our lives ready for the return of the Lord, it won't matter when He comes. We'll be ready.
Paul describes this as keeping awake and sober. Both describe a lifestyle of being constantly on the alert. What are we watching for? The coming of the Lord, of course. But how does that play out for us?
It means we are guarding our hearts against sin. We are on the watch for the enemy of temptation from whichever quarter it may come. We are alert to his sneak attacks. We maintain such diligence so that we will not be overcome by sin and chance that Christ will return while we are astray from Him.
We are also awake to the fact that we have a job to do. We have been called to bring His Gospel to the world. When the Master of the House returns, will He find us about our duty? Will He find us faithful? It has been said that idleness is the devil's workshop. It is true. When we leave our duties and resort to amusing ourselves, we often find ourselves in the midst of sin. God has not called us to a playground, but a battleground. Our lives here are to be dedicated to His service. Our rewards await us. This does not mean, of course, that we cannot enjoy this life. But it does mean that happiness and pleasure are not the goals.
To be awake and sober is to keep an eye on eternity. We are not guaranteed another minute, much less another day. How will we use the time given to us?
How do we make an impact in our generation? By giving up our lives completely to our Lord Jesus. It is only then that our lives can be used in ways that will truly make an impact. The thing to remember is that it is His choice how He will use us, not ours. When we make loving and serving Him the goal, everything else we could ever really desire will be ours as well.
Be awake and sober, my friends, and watch to see the great things God will do!