Be patient and stand firm, for the Lord’s coming is near. Do not grumble against each other or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
There is so much packed into these verses. The first thing that jumps out at me is the two reminders that the life we’re living is a breath away from being history. That when Christ returns, this will all be but a shadow. And that it is so, very close. Closer than I realize.
I know I don’t live that way. I make plans for next month, next year. I think way too much about silly, even stupid, things. I forget that this is not all there is. So these verses remind me loud and clear to be on my guard, on my best behavior.
In fact, the three things we’re told to do in these verses – because Christ is returning soon – are to be patient, to stand firm, and to not grumble against each other.
I am not a patient woman. Okay, rephrase. I am ironically patient in the huge things of life, probably because it’s in the biggest things that I get I have the least control. But just this morning, the point was driven home to me that I’m not patient in the little things. I had the opportunity, if you want to call it that, to go to the grocery store at 6:40am. There were, like, three other people there. It was great. But they don’t put staff at the checkout lanes until 9, so I had to go through the self-check-out. That in and of itself isn’t a big deal, because I feel pretty confident with that thing now, but I had coupons, was going to write a check, and wanted cash back. Oh, and I had bananas. And I don’t know how to do bananas. My point is, between forgetting to swipe my Jewel card, pulling the bag off prematurely and all my extra requests, I’m not kidding, I was in that “express” lane for fifteen minutes. Longer than it took me to shop. I was trying to be sweet to the one woman who was in charge of these three lanes, and she thanked me for my patience, but I knew that deep down I was seething, thinking how ridiculous this was. But, these verses tell me that in that moment of petty frustration, I should have been patient because Jesus is Lord and He’s coming back soon. If I really believe that, and I do, I should be working on my patience in all things.
I’m also supposed to be standing firm. In what I believe. In steady emotions. In my promises. In how I treat people, both those I know and don’t know, and those I love and don’t love. I don’t always do this. I waver. A lot. But I am supposed to be steady because Jesus is Lord and He’s coming back soon. If I really believe that, and I do, I should be working on standing firm in all things.
And I’m supposed to be holding my tongue, not grumbling against anyone. Oh, heavens. This is my worst one, I’m sure. Boy, do I grumble. When are these kids going to make their own breakfast? (Probably the day you stop making it, you goof.) When will he start picking up after himself? (More than likely when you stop doing it for him.) When will she call me? (Why don’t you just call her and stop acting like you’re twelve?) When will that book be ready? (When it’s finished and just right.) But these verses tell me that I’m supposed to not only keep those thoughts to myself, it might be a grand idea if I nipped them in the bud altogether and said a quick thank-you prayer about the person that I’m grumbling about because Jesus is Lord and He’s coming back soon. If I really believe that, and I do, I should be working on my complimenting and praising in all things.
My Lord, my Judge, is standing at the door.Am I living a life that is ready to let Him in right now?