If Jesus Returned Today

If Jesus returned today would you be ready? Would you be ready to live in a world where God was your only source of life? Where you could no longer get life/identity from other people, your accomplishments, your money, your looks, your relationships, your roles, your job, your house, your clothing, your knowledge, your superiority to someone else or any other thing at all?

Would you really be ready to live in a world where your only reaction could be love? Where whatever happened or whatever another person did, you couldn’t be resentful, jealous, seek your own way, hold a grudge, assert your rights or demand immediate change?

Would you be prepared to have your every problem solved by God’s comfort? Are you really prepared to come to God with a complaint, a hurt or a problem and instead of having the situation set right, have God say, “all is well. I love you and care for you. Be at peace” without actually changing anything for us?

If Jesus came back today, would you be ready to live at peace with all people? Would you be able to love, value and take joy in those who think differently than you? Whose desires and work is different than your own? Could you find joy in someone sees and experiences God in ways that you do not? Could you humble yourself to learn from them instead of opposing them? Could you love them even when you got nothing in return?

Could you live with only what God has provided and not what you want? If beauty and the fruit of God’s creation were all that were available and no thing which took from rather than added to that existed, could you be satisfied? If there was a lot of fruit but little meat? Water in abundance, but no artificially colored and flavored drinks? If you could know and be in contact with all people and places, but rarely, if ever, travel anywhere?

Could you take correction with joy rather than pain? Could you face being told you are wrong and instead of arguing, defending yourself, feeling bad or condemned, be excited at the new truth you have been shown?

Are you able to make God your greatest desire and ambition? Instead of dreaming of awards or degrees or success or a beautiful family, could you spend your days and nights dreaming of ways to draw closer to the King? Could you make all of your choices according to what would amplify love, peace, hope, faith and goodness rather than what would amplify wealth, status, comfort, ease and reputation?

Could you seek relationships for how they will sharpen, grow and change you – iron against iron, deep calling to deep – rather than how they affirm you, how they bring you comfort or ease, how they build you up? Could you persevere through the process with gladness over how you are being refined without resenting what it costs? Could you refrain from doing anything that brings harm to another person – no matter how different or far removed from you – and no matter what suffering you will endure as a result?

If you had children, could you understand that it is a sacred privilege and not a right? Could you see them as equals made vulnerable and trusting you rather than lesser humans with only the rights you deign to give them? Could you understand your work as preparing them to live bearing the image of God rather than as reflections of you? Could you allow them to be who God created them to be rather than pressuring them to be who you think you should be?

Revelation 21:4 says that when the new heaven and new earth are established, the old order will have passed away. And the truth is that for a lot of us, this would be a disaster. We are too attached to the old order. We are taking our life from, shaping our thinking in accordance with, dealing with other people and with God himself according to the old order. The old order has to do with power, prestige, rights, and comfort. It creates hierarchies. It has to do with reward and punishment. It protects us from having to change, put others first, let go of our rights. It privileges being correct over being good. It keeps us from suffering by providing all manner of alternatives to growing up, letting go of what isn’t God, changing and becoming wise. The old order is where most people – including Christians – are getting their life, their sense of well being, their identity and purpose.

When Christ returns, all of that will be swept away. All we will have is God alone. All we will be able to act out of is perfect love. For those few who have been on the narrow path of learning perfect love, this will be heaven. But most people will experience it as the lake of fire they must be refined in before they are able to enter into the Kingdom of God on earth.

So, in light of all that, allow me to ask you that classic question – if Jesus returned today, would you be ready?

16 thoughts on “If Jesus Returned Today

  1. Well, some points here — & some maybes. I mean, right now our only source of life is God — who is likewise the source of any true identity we might have. On other hands –This life seems to be set up in a ‘sacramental’ form, so that God can nourish us through physical activities like having us eat, yes, food!

    We commonly make the mistake of thinking that it’s the food, not God, that keeps us alive, but that’s just the way we’re used to racking up pounds-I-mean-points in this life (which you have only recently described, yourself, through the ‘video-game’ metaphor.) We’re already existing on two levels: a spiritual reality plus a physical interface — and I don’t see any real problem with that physical interface; aside from human misuse, I rather like it!

    Meanwhile, we’re continually being taught, albeit the hard way, that the real treasures outlast those brief, meaningless…. (Excuse me while I grab a quick — oh, YES! THAT was good!) yeah, well, those things — but that’s not to devalue those various things we actually like, or to make suffering fun; it just happens that they don’t last.

    There was no point storing up manna, because the next day any excess would just be a gooey, stinky mess. But every day, there it was, from God, and not to be despised…

    1. Forrest, I suspect we’re in broad agreement ‘re what the new heaven/earth will be- mostly more of the same. I think that we are supposed to be expecting the end of an age as the original Greek says, not the end of the world. But I had sat down to write about what that might actually look like/mean and couldn’t get it out. So after a couple hours of struggling I gave up and erased what I had. Then this came to me and it took about half an hour to write. Sometimes what the Spirit has to say is different from what think people ought to know.

      1. I’m pretty sure we are in broad agreement, that really growing up would mean seeting the real treasures vs short-sighted perks in better perspective. And we know we’re better off when we do put the longer term goods first… But real goods really do arrive (just like the real bads!); they don’t just get postponed forever.

        I don’t think, that is, that we’ll need to accept a series of onerous requirements; or somehow ‘become taller’ against our wills… “Accepting correction” can be painful (especially when I resist!) but it sure beats going heedlessly off some cliff before a Wiley Coyote Moment restores my true sense of things.

        I had a friend who realized how very ugly his ego could get — and tried to give it up in shame, to bully it into submission. My own ego… is a pill; but I’ve had no luck with ‘using Satan to drive out Satan’; what’s mitigated my self-obsession over the years has been experience: When I really ‘take over’ a conversation I don’t learn much, while if I seriously consider the silly things other people say, they turn out wonderfully illuminating!

    2. When we were children we are told of a mystical, magical god that loves all and is just. We are told that governments exist to provide us with justice.
      We are told that the cure for despair is hope but having existed in this world for for over half a century I have come to learn a greater truth about god and government that is far from the mystical and magical lessons we are taught in childhood.
      Unfortunately many of us would rather continue to drink from the pap than take up a knife and fork and fill ourselves with reality.
      I hope and pray all will go well for those in despair.

      1. The word “mystical” doesn’t point to “mystification”, nor to being “told of” anything — but to the process of letting God (as is) be directly known.

        No matter how long you may have “existed” there is time to experiment, to approach what you’re denying from ignorance, to capital-L “listen” for something beyond your “greater truth.”

        Government, on another hand, is a pretty lame excercise, whether it’s done by governments or by corporations. But ~”If there were such a thing as a truly-benign government on Earth, it would be a great joy to serve it.” Aside from the government of Christ — which is self-government in the best sense — there is of course no such government. Certainly not ours, alas!

  2. If Jesus returned today, he would be misunderstood by most people (just like in biblical days); those that understood him, would not believe him (again, just like in biblical days); and finally, those that believed him would crucify him (again).

  3. Thank you for such a deep and thoughtful post! It is scary but good for me to think about how I would react if Jesus came right now. I hope that I would run to Him with open arms. My parent’s life goal is to live each day preparing to see the face of God.

  4. You know this post is awesome, right? Like, the best.

    It’s a bit ironic; I just put up a post a day or two ago about the mention of fire in scripture…how fire expresses the essence of God because the purity and intensity of His love burns like flame, removing our impurities and refining our good qualities. When the final judgment comes and we’re exposed to the fullness of His presence, there are many who, lacking in good works and qualities, will be completely consumed and extinguished by the fire of His love. Because evil cannot survive in His presence.

    I thought it curious that Revelation says the return of Jesus will be greeted by groans and mourning. But when we think about it in this context–that the old, ‘comfortable’ system of things will be annihilated–it makes perfect sense. I imagine that we cannot imagine the depth of realization that we will have on that day of who He is and who we are in comparison. I imagine we will see much within ourselves that will be found wanting.

  5. I am here by the Grace of God and I wake up every morning by His Grace. He provides for my every need, so why would I not be ready for His return?
    I could care less about anything else, why do you?
    ♥ Ed

    1. Because I am a mere mortal with a great deal to learn and work through. And I take great comfort that Jesus himself had to deal with every temptation which I struggle with himself. He was, in fact, a man who often prayed, as I do, with “tears and loud cries” rather than primly having complete peace and comfort over all things. In fact, my savior suffered so greatly that he cried out to God asking why he’d been forsaken. If Jesus can suffer due to the trials of this world, then I believe that I am allowed to as well.

      1. That you are, if you choose. I believe Jesus suffered and died for my sins and I have faith that he will provide for my needs. As for the feelings of others about me or my need for ‘things’, these are things I don’t worry about for I have my Savior to guide my every move. I am thankful for all things He has blessed me with and I don’t worry about what others have for if I needed them He would provide them.
        God bless you Rebecca and I will always keep you and the family in my daily prayers.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing a very interesting read. It’s a very good article. If Jesus returns today, I think I would be ready for it. I would not be able to express my joy of seeing His face and for just being beside Him.

  7. Every knee will bow…so mine also. Judgment will transpire…mine also. And the love of God will transform all…me too. I’m not worried about it. I trust in his love. I am his creature…not the creator. Now that bothers me some. 🙂

    1. Yeah, that creator seems a little shady sometimes. If he’d just take my advice more often things would be so much easier. But he keeps telling me that my problem is that I’m just not able to imagine a reality good enough to outdo what he’s got going on. I guess I’ll just have to take his word for it.

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