The Crown of Righteousness
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the LORD, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing
2 Timothy 4:8, NIV
Here we find the Apostle Paul in a cold Roman prison cell, awaiting his execution. This takes place some thirty years after his encounter with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. He has fought the fight, he’s run the race and he’s facing death.
Many throughout church history have held to the idea that he was beheaded shortly after this penning this letter to his protégé, Timothy. There is good reason to believe these are his last words. Here we see Paul’s profound perspective. His optimism rooted in God’s goodness pervaded his thoughts and actions. Here we see how he reflects upon what lies ahead. This Crown of righteousness is for all those that long for Jesus return. Paul clarifies that this is not simply for himself but for “to all who have longed for his appearing.” This concept ought to bring encouragement for those that may not be able to physically serve in the church for one reason or another.
ARE YOU LONGING FOR THE LORD’S RETURN?
What if you don’t really long for the LORD’s return? What if you know you should but don’t really feel that way? How to get those feelings and thoughts going? Here are a few suggestions to kick start the heart!
Look around. If you take a minute to look around and see all the pain and suffering in our world. It won’t take you long to start praying. Come Lord Jesus come. Look around and see what really matters in life. Look at how people are searching for answers that can only be found in God, in the person, and the work of Jesus Christ!
Look back. When you take a moment to look back over your life and count all the blessings that God has done in your life you will grow in your love and longing to be with God. Review his faithfulness and as you do you will long more and more for this familiar friendship and desire to be with him more and more.
Look ahead. Take the time to study the doctrine of the Rapture, the Judgement Seat of Christ, The Jesus Awards Ceremony, the New Heaven and Earth, and so on. As you do your heart's desire for the things of this world will begin to fade and an appetite for God’s goodness, his grace, and truth will begin to grow. His grace is irresistible. As you draw near so does He. (James 4:8)
Take a minute to look up the following passages and ask God to align your heart more and more with the truths found in them. (Titus 2:13, Philippians 3:20–21)
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