Seven Practical Ways to Eagerly Wait for His Appearing

Excerpted and Adapted from "Preparing for Heaven: A Guide for Going Home to God", by Steve Swartz

April 29, 2020


Strength in the Desert, Part 15

Perhaps the most important lesson we can learn about waiting on the Lord that we can learn comes from a group of people that we can most relate to, Christians in the church of Jesus Christ still struggling on this earth. In the context of Hebrews 9, Christ is compared to the high priest who would enter the Most Holy Place to make atonement for the sins of his people.

The Israelites would watch their high priest go behind the sacred curtain and if he appeared again, everyone knew that the sacrifice had been accepted by God. This meant that atonement was made, and forgiveness and blessing in God had been secured. So also we eagerly await the reappearing of Christ which indicates that salvation’s plan is complete, and the sacrifice has been accepted. Hebrews 9:28 gives us an obvious conclusion that the greatest key to waiting on the Lord is to wait for the Lord. Here are seven practical ways to eagerly wait for His appearing.

The greatest key to waiting on the Lord is to wait for the Lord.

1. Have a Learner’s Mind About the End Times

One-third of the Bible is prophecy, and it is meant to be read to create anticipation. (Zech. 14:9; Isa. 9:6-7).

2. Meaningfully Connect Your Current Obedience to the Coming of Christ

While you are waiting on the Lord for some resolution, it is tempting to put your own holiness and sanctification on the back-burner. In actuality, while you wait on the Lord by waiting for the Lord, we are to wait by striving for Christ-likeness. We are to pursue and practice humble obedience.

3. Read the Book of Revelation Regularly

Recall the double blessing given in Revelation, one at the beginning and one at the end. Blessed is the one who reads aloud and keeps the prophecy. (Rev. 1:3, 22:7). Revelation contains the revealing of Christ in much more glory than He’s ever revealed in the gospels.

4. Grasp the Kingdom Focus of the Bible and Read the Bible in this Light

The Bible is the revelation of God about His kingdom program, not a series of unrelated verses to be cherry-picked for devotional use for whatever purpose fits your life circumstances for the day. If you read the Bible with this story constantly in mind, there is a flow, direction, hope, and yearning for this coming kingdom.

5. Remember the Attitude of Paul

Engage in fruitful labor now for the sake of Christ and cultivate your desire and yearning to depart and be with Christ. (Phil. 1:21-23).

6. Remember the Vision of Stephen

The one who is seated at the right hand of God in intercession for your sin stands to receive His own as they come home. Let that vision be on your mind daily.

7. Encourage One Another with the Details of Christ’s Coming

Both the New and Old Testament have significant amounts of material related to the final days of this earth in detail. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 give details about the rapture and the resurrection. What does Paul tell us to do with these tremendous and exciting details? In verse 18 he says, “Therefore, encourage one another with these words.”

As we wait on the Lord, we can relate to the writer of Psalm 102, an afflicted man who was suffering greatly and feeling abandoned by God, when he said, “I am like a desert owl of the wilderness, like an owl of the waste places.” (v.6) However, as the sun is setting in the desert and darkness closes over the waste places, that desert owl bows and sways as it sings in perfect contentment. Even in the desert, even in the darkness, you can be the desert owl who, as it were, sings and sways in contentment. Be content in the waste places and the desert because you have a God who is already there in victory! Psalm 68:4 exhorts, “Sing to God, sing praises to His name; lift up a song to Him who rides through the deserts; His name is the Lord; exult before Him!”

Steve Swartz, D.Min

Dr. Swartz is the senior teaching pastor of Grace Bible Church in Bakersfield, California and author of Shattered Shepherds and Strength in the River. You can hear him on the Steadfast in the Faith broadcast.

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