Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11.
What is the message here, and why is it so relevant to us today, living when we do? How can we take these words and apply them in the practical moments of day-to-day living?
So much exists in those verses, but one point should stand out so clearly, and that is the hope that those Christians awaiting the return of Christ should have. Certainly, we need to be watchful and sober so that the day doesn’t overtake us like a thief in the night. But we should also be full of faith and love and hope; because whether we “wake or sleep” (that is whether we die before He returns or are alive when He returns), we have the promise of eternal life with Him.
In this day and age, when we see signs all around us, we must be careful of the way in which we interpret them and of how we understand their significance. Too often we can get caught up in events that cause all kinds of excitement and drama and anticipation, only to have them fade into nothing. These kinds of things, once finished, can leave members disgruntled, disappointed, and even full of doubt. We need to be vigilant, but we also need to be cautious, wise, and humble as we seek to read and discern the signs of the times (see Matt. 16:1-4).
The predictions about the end times were not given to satisfy the curiosity of believers but to encourage them to keep watching (Matt. 24:32-44). As we await the Second Advent, we need to keep our eyes open, we need to know what the Word of God teaches about last-day events; this is especially important because there are so many false views within Christendom itself regarding the signs of the times.
How do we strike the right balance in living in anticipation of the Second Coming while, at the same time, refraining from seeing every headline as a sign of the end? How do we avoid complacency on one hand and fanaticism on the other?