Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Today’s Topic: Look Your Best
Today’s Text: 2 Peter 3:14 (NIV) So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
As Denise and I prepare to travel to Africa, we are evaluating carefully what has to go in each piece of luggage so that it makes the weight limitations. In addition to that, we are carefully planning what to take in our carry-on luggage and personal item we each get to have inside the plane.
We will pack one bag with emergency clothing. Books that have been requested by the missionaries will go in another bag so they don’t overload the checked luggage. Then there will be the personal care items we will need on the plane and at the Hotel in Johannesburg the first night. Both of us will be very diligent about that and what we are wearing when we step off the plane in Swaziland.
Why? Because we’re going to see dear friends that we haven’t seen for well over a year, and we want to meet them at our best. Now I know they won’t care what we look like when we get off the plane, because they love us. I know that there will be no subtle glances at my belly or baldness followed by facial expressions of disgust. I know that if I was wearing my ragged jeans and the same sweaty t-shirt I had on when I started the journey, and had not showered or shaved at the hotel, that Dudley would still hug me. Not just because he’s used to that kind of personal hygiene from the people of his country, but because He loves me.
But I don’t want to put him in that position. I want nothing about me to distract from the total joy of our reunion.
My friends, we are God’s children, if we have been born into the family of God by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. He was given to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when we received by faith the forgiveness of sins He paid for on the cross. Some day – maybe very soon – we will be reunited with Him in person. We will step off this earth into His glorious presence for all eternity. He will extend His arms and welcome us into heaven. He will hug you no matter what you are like, because He saved you.
Yet the Scriptures tell us that there is a possibility of shame on our part when we meet Christ. There may be the experience of grief and remorse when we are pulled into His loving arms. It hinges on how we have lived our lives prior to getting there. Peter’s challenge to us today is to use the coming reunion as motivation for pure and holy living. The Apostle John says it this way in First John 2:28 – And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame. (NLT)
This is a very real thing. There will be those of us who will shrink back from the Lord as we approach Him because suddenly, in His perfect presence, everything about us becomes absolutely transparent. All lying ceases. All cover-ups are exposed. All wrong motives are revealed. There will be, for the first time in our existence, absolute honesty about who we are. That’s scary to all of us, isn’t it?
Remember, Jesus will still hug you. He will revive you if you pass out from fear and shame. He will restore you. There will be the experience of His unconditional forgiveness as He reviews your life. But we will be reviewed in the light of His holiness. There will be no opportunity for us to excuse anything we have done, said, or thought. All will be revealed. Then Jesus will wipe away every tear from our eyes and welcome us into the perfection of His presence forever. Hallelujah!
Now is the time of preparation for that reunion. Today is the day to begin setting aside all falsehood about who you are. This is the moment to manage your motivations. Right now, at this very second, it is time to become spotless, blameless, and at peace with Him. Every lie, every cover-up, every self-serving motivation puts us at odds with our Savior. The guarantee of our reunion with Jesus is our new motivation to be like Him. The Apostle John says Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3 NLT)