“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (II Timothy 4:8)
When the Lord comes for us, will we “love his appearing“?
I believe the answer to that is based on our daily relationship to the Lord. Which, like any close relationship, involves our daily transparency and communion with Christ.
But how can we look forward, with joy, to seeing someone that we don’t know? Or, of whom we are afraid?
Talking With the Lord
This reminds me of a recent walk I took after I dropped my car off for repair in the downtown area of my hometown. I had a 40-minute walk home down a paved trail that goes from downtown to right behind my house.
On this walk, I was thinking a lot about the judgment seat of Christ. Which is a topic one rarely hears preached about in Evangelical churches. You can make your own conclusions about why that is.
Anyway, I was talking to the Lord about this. Trying not to talk out loud as I walked the path that weaves around many residential homes. Trying not to look any crazier than I normally do.
I was bothered and worried about the judgment seat. Since, I struggle with stuff in my life, as we all do. And wondered if all the stuff I’ve done or haven’t done is going to be reviewed again by the Lord.
Walking Day by Day
Well, as I asked the Lord about all this and poured out my heart to Him, an amazing thought occurred to me.
It was that I talk to the Lord about my sins and failures every day. He knows me and He knows that I do not approve of my sins. And that I bring these things to Him daily. And that they are all washed away by His blood.
So, I realized that there will be no surprises at His judgment seat. Not in the way I feared. Because He and I talk all the time. Every day. All day.
It was so obvious. How ridiculous that I should fear Him who loves me so. Whom I depend on daily.
Despite all my failures. Despite all my sins. Despite all the stuff I have wrestled with for decades.
The Cleansing of the Lord
The point is, He knows each of us.
And if we would just come to Him and trust Him day by day. Being honest with Him about our sins and failures. Trusting in His cleansing blood and the sanctification of His Spirit. And the washing of water by the word. The word that cleanses us.
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. ” (John 17:17)
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3)
Just look at all the verses in scripture about how He cleanses us. He has a lot of ways and He does this for us constantly.
(Which is fuel for a whole series of wonderful truths about His work in us.)
But there is another part to this that I must share with you.
It is Written
As I was walking down this trail with these ideas going through my skull full of mush, I saw something spray painted on the asphalt trail. There were words written there.
The words were, “I love you”.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. That was not for me. And I get it. I’m not that crazy. I know that someone put that there in hopes their girlfriend or boyfriend would see it.
I did that myself back in high school. When I was in love with a girl that didn’t love me. And so, I wrote her name in the snow in a back-of-the-way meadow on my way home from school. Knowing she would never see it. But still hoping against hope that she just might.
But, who can explain the things we do? When we are in love or in the depths of emotion in our lives, when we do things we can’t explain.
But, as far as those words on the asphalt, I just don’t believe in coincidences. I just don’t believe that life is a series of accidents.
After almost 50 years as a Christian, I have learned to recognize when the Lord is talking to me. And to hold those moments close to me. Guarding them from the voices and spirits that would rob me of my experience of the Lord’s visitation.
Yeah, that’s what these moments should be called, moments of visitation.
Moments when He especially shows us that He loves us. In a unique, but quiet, way.
Maybe it is a moment when the Lord shows us the beauty of His creation. In a time when we are very despondent. And there seems little joy in our lives. Or we are in pain. Or in despair. Or bogged down in our own sins and failures.
Or bogged down in looking at how we don’t measure up.
HE is Our Life
It is then that He reveals to us that He is our life. And that our life is hid with Christ in God.
And that He has our back.
And all we need is to just talk with Him. To be honest with Him about our lives. To be transparent with Him. And not try to fake it.
He can handle it when we are just open and honest with Him. That is what He does. It is what He wants us to do.
And then let Him reveal His love for us. And all the wonders that lay in store for us. And the life He wants to share with us right now.
As we hike with Him, day by day, down this trail of life.
“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God, When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:3-4)