Any Day Now

Deadlines help us keep our focus. Whether it is a strategic plan at work or a new healthy lifestyle, changes come a little easier knowing there is an end goal in sight. There are end goals and there are intermediate goals. If the end goal is too far in the future, we risk losing focus, so many times the end goal is broken into smaller achievable goals along the way. As long as we meet the smaller goals, the end goal remains in our focus.

Beloved, since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, arm yourselves with the same thought, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer by human passions but by the will of God. Let the time that is past suffice for doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry. They are surprised that you do not now join them in the same wild profligacy, and they abuse you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to the dead, that though judged in the flesh like men, they might live in the spirit like God. The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers. Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another. As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

1st Peter 4.1-11

For the ancient Church, the goal was to be with God in heaven. For the ancient Church, that day would come at any moment. They didn’t have to worry about ‘far-off’ goals and losing focus. They were taught to be ready at any moment.

After a few generations, I’m sure people began to question if God was going to come back that soon. It was hard to live ‘ready’ when you begin to doubt that today is the day. The more time you think you have, the easier it is to ‘put off for tomorrow’ what needs to be done today.

Corporate leaders know it. Politicians know it. Even Churches know it. The longer the future the goal, the harder it is to remain focused. Unfortunately for us Christians, we will never know the day God is coming. We must find a way to ‘live ready’ no matter how much or how little time is ahead of us.

I have worked with many people who suffer from addiction. The first thing they are taught in recovery is to focus on today. They don’t worry about staying sober tomorrow. They focus on staying sober today. The same is true for our spiritual journey.

Don’t focus on fighting tomorrow’s temptation. Focus on fighting today’s temptation. Think of sin as sliding down a slipper muddy hill. The longer you slide, the harder it is to get back to the top. The longer you put off fighting temptation, the harder it will be to eliminate the sin. By focusing on today, you never slide so far down you can’t get back up.

In your daily prayers, thank God every morning for another chance to ‘get it right’. Ask God’s forgiveness every night and ask Him for another chance tomorrow. Throughout the day, when you catch yourself sliding down the hill, ask God to help you climb back up.

If you fall, ask for His forgiveness right then and there. Don’t wait another moment. Set a new goal to fight temptation the rest of the day. Keep the goal in front of you instead of ‘far-off’ and you will increase your chances of success. Then start all over tomorrow.

Count the hours of success if you must, instead of the days. Eventually hours turn into days, and days turn into weeks, etc. Along the way, make a regular appointment with your spiritual father for Holy Confession and get a ‘fresh start’ on top of the hill.

It doesn’t matter that Christ has not returned yet. What matters is that He will come any day now. If you want to be ready for Him, focus on today’s spiritual battles and you will always be ready.

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