Have you ever watched a loved one walk away from you and you know you'll be anxiously awaiting their return?!? Today, our daughter heads back to college - yes it is summer and she normally would be home for several months...but she is starting an internship at her school to prepare her for the next step of God's plan. So, this weekend was spent packing up items and making sure she had the clothes she needed and getting that last-minute oil change before she hit the road. Even though we are very excited for her, we are going to miss her. Here's the great news - we know that a time is coming where she will come back home. The same thing happened with Jesus.
In Acts 1, something amazing happened. Jesus had already come and announced His plan to save the world - He has died on the cross, He has risen from the grave, and He has appeared to His loyal followers. Now, He has been "taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight." Here is what happened next:
"They were looking intently up in the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 'Men of Galilee', they said, 'why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into Heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into Heaven.'" (Acts 1:10-11)
Here at HighPoint Church, we know that Jesus did all the Bible says He did, and we do our best to allow Him to use us to show that to others. But what are we doing while we wait for Him to return?
1. Look upward - If I had been there that day, I would have been doing the same thing. I would have been mesmerized by watching Jesus ascend into Heaven, and I would have been tempted to linger there. My mind would return to review all of the miraculous things I had seen Him do and say. I would have been so thankful that He saved me and changed me that I would want to continue to look up - showing Him how devoted I am to Him. I would want Him to know that my heart is full of gratitude and worship and trust. While I am waiting for Him to return, what things can I do to continue to show Him this type of devotion? When life is hard and His return seems to tarry too long, how diligent will I be to continue to look up?
2. Look outward - Here is the problem that the angels were pointing out: we can be so busy looking up that we forget to look around. While we wait for Jesus to return, we should be doing all we can to help people believe in Him. I cannot just stand there looking up into the sky, [im]patiently waiting for His return so He will take me with Him. I also must be busy trying to reach those around us. this starts with me wanting to have loving dialogue with people: telling our story, listening to them tell their story, us showing them who Jesus is. When we do this, we leave the door open for their questions and we trust the Holy Spirit to keep speaking to their heart.
3. Look inward - The first two suggestions (Upward and Outward) are important, but we also need to look Inward. After Acts 1, the remainder of the Bible is showing us how to live out our faith while we wait for His return. This is the "Now What?!?" portion of the Bible, as in "now that we believe, what do we do?" When we start to look inward, He shows us areas of our lives that need to improve. He points out when we do what we should not do or when we do not do something we should do. This is where He makes us more like Him...and if there ever was something that people need to see today, it's that. Our daughter had a few things she needed to do to get ready - so do we! Let's be praying for each other as we do!