“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God…” -2 Peter 3:8-12
The question may often arise: Why do I want to do anything this morning? Another day, another hour, another mission, my next step? What gets my motor going? It is a question worth asking yourself. There are a whole variety of answers; some are significant, some not so much, but something drives your train.
Your answer may be very pedantic. I need to get paid. I left stuff undone yesterday. My spouse revs my motor. My children need me. Others are relying on me. I can’t stay in bed all day. I do what is expected of me. What can you say?
There are many motivations for what you do and whether you keep doing it, whatever your age. Your health, sustenance, relationships, and responsibilities to others all play a part. But is this enough? Is this all there is?
The book of 2 Peter focuses on both the present and the future, with heavy emphasis on the future. It addresses your chief motivation for doing or wanting to do whatever it is you do. Why do I want to get up this morning? How should I order my day? Maybe you don’t think too much about this, you just do it. But you should! You need to meditate on it. There ought to be specific purpose in your intent rather than just automatically doing what comes next.
The whole purpose of Peter’s writing is about this very concept: Why do we do what we do? In fact, the whole purpose of the writing of the entire Bible is about this. If all that the Bible has to say is indeed true, the Bible then asks what sort of person you ought to be in light of what it says. What should galvanize your mind, your soul, your spirit for today, tomorrow, or the next day?
That which was the chief motivator to inspire the disciples’ perseverance and their sacrifice, up to and including martyrdom, was the promised, momentous, and fully-believed return to earth of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It would be a cataclysmic, sudden, completely unannounced return, just like an unexpected robbery of your home in the dead of night and as quick as the flash of a lightning bolt across the expanse of sky.
This pronouncement rests upon every saint in every age with the same weight of immediacy and gravity. It rests on you today just as it rests on me. This is a total mystery to our present minds while yet equally true in its existential reality. Yes, two millennia have passed since the warning was first given, but Peter says such is just like a mere two days in God’s timing, and it is His timing which counts. The Bible tells you that when you wake in the morning, it could be the day Jesus returns. Peter asks you what kind of person you should be knowing the return of Jesus is imminent.
In your own estimate, you could act and think like the scoffers of Peter’s day or today. What do you mean, “The return of Christ is imminent?” Nothing happens day after day. Everything remains the same. Peter warns that such conjecture is deadly. If you live your life thinking this, it will not go well for you in the judgment which is soon coming.
We can hardly get our minds around this all-encompassing prediction, but we must. The Scriptures speak truth. It is well that you believe them, even in the face of Satan lulling you into unwitting disbelief.
One day, sooner rather than later, you will actually tremble at the thought, I almost did not believe God’s Word and act on it. But the Bible directs you to align your thoughts and focus your motivation. You do what you do because you expect Jesus could come today! You want to be ready and anticipating meeting Him face-to-face.
Consequently, you must persevere to hate sin and sacrifice to keep yourself from it. You must love the Lord your God with all your mind, strength, and heart. You must strive to do what you do with concentrated excellence in all your efforts as unto the Lord. You desire to please the Lord of Glory with everything in you; this is your foremost motivation. You will rise in the morning to meet the day with all it may bring because your Savior may actually come today, and if He doesn’t, then there is tomorrow. In any case, “Come, Lord Jesus! I am ready and waiting!”
“O Lord, how shall I meet You, how welcome You aright? Your people long to greet You, my hope, my heart’s delight! O kindle, Lord Most Holy, Your lamp within my breast to do in spirit lowly all that may please You best.”
(First verse of Paul Gerhardt’s hymn, “O Lord, How Shall I Meet You,” 1653)
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