The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.1 Peter 4:7(NASB)
However young or old a person may be in physical years, the fleeting breath of this brief life is but a drop in the vast ocean of eternity as time tick-tocks away. The moon continues to wax and wane in its monthly cycle, and the sun sets in the western skies, evening by evening, as year succeeds to year, in nature's ever-circling round. As spring skips through summer into autumn's golden glow, the end of all things is drawing very close.
With every passing year, we are getting nearer to what Peter calls, "the end of everything", when the perfect rule of Christ will replace this current evil world system. As believers, we are certainly called to prepare ourselves for the imminent return of Jesus, when He comes in the clouds to Rapture His church into His presence at the end of this dispensation of grace, but Peter is also calling us to prepare ourselves for coming persecution in the days ahead.
We live in a fallen world and every one of us will suffer some form of persecution. In the time of Peter, it was Nero who persecuted the Church, as Christians were thrown to the lions, used as sport in the gladiators' arena, and made into human torches to light up the streets of Rome. None of us knows what difficult times lie ahead and the dangers we are to face in the coming days, but we should be emotionally and spiritually prepared in the inner man, by being sound in judgement and sober in spirit, so that we may be prayerful people who are prepared to pray aright.
The end of everything is indeed drawing near, and we see the multiplication of evil, the demise of standards, and a world where everyone does what is right in their own eyes. Increasingly there is a rejection of God's truth in this Christ-rejecting sinful world, and an increasing disdain for the people of God. The time is fast approaching when we must recognise that however old or young a man may be in physical years, we will soon be standing in the presence of the Lord Jesus, to give an account of the life we lived for Christ.
The world as we know it will soon come to an end, and the consummation of this evil age is speeding to its final conclusion. But while we are to be ready for the voice of the archangel, the trumpet call of God, and the any-day return of Christ for those who believe on His name, we are also to be prepared, in thought, word, and deed, for whatever may befall our lives in these uncertain times.
How important, therefore, to practice self-control, and to keep our minds clear, so that we can pray without ceasing, maintain an attitude of praise, and in everything give thanks to our Father in heaven - for this is God's will for all His children. We are to be a living sacrifice - holy to the Lord and a testimony to the veracity of the Gospel. We are to be ready to give an answer for the faith we have in Christ - for who knows when God will use us as a witness to His Word as a testimony to the truth.
How we rejoice with exceeding great joy that our citizenship is in heaven. But while on earth we are here for a reason and we are reminded that the conduct of the wise man and the virtuous woman is prudence, wise judgement, clarity of thought, holy living, and ceaseless prayer. It is turning the eyes of the heart to Jesus each moment of the day. It is desiring to know Him more, and a yearning to love Him better.
It is a quiet willingness to listen to His voice and a readiness to depend on Him in the most difficult circumstances we face in life. It is the practice of self-control, purity of heart, clarity of mind, and unceasing prayer - and such conduct is reflected in the character of the spiritual man or woman of God. It is found in the heart of the humble man with a teachable spirit, who maintains daily fellowship with his God.
The end of everything is speeding to its final conclusion. How important therefore to keep ourselves in the love of God as we look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. How wise is the one who abides in Christ, rests in His love, prays in spirit and truth, and maintains close communion with God the Father, for the judgements of such a man or woman are sound. His spirit is sober and his prayers and praises are powerful, effective, and can move great mountains.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for giving me the understanding that only as I remain in Christ can I practice self-controlled godly conduct, and maintain fellowship with You, for it is only through His righteousness that I can approach Your throne of grace and pray effectively. Keep me I pray, looking to Jesus as I wait for His imminent return. Keep me sound in judgement, sober in spirit, and use me I pray, to share the good news of the glorious gospel with lost souls in need of salvation. I pray that Your will be done in my life, and that godly wisdom and understanding would be reflected in my prayers and praises. This I ask in Jesus' name, and for His greater glory, AMEN.