The Christmas Challenge is to read through the 24 chapters in the Gospel of Luke one chapter a day during the month of December – finishing this historical account of the life of Jesus just in time for Christmas. Today’s chapter is Luke 21.
The warning in these verses is in view of Christ’s promise to return. Those waiting are in danger of being weighed down by the pull of this world.
What steps can we take to prevent being overburdened and unprepared for Christ’s return? Jesus provides two.
First, avoid earthly distractions by watching carefully. One of the things Jesus identifies that can weigh us down: seeking satisfaction in something that cannot provide it.
This is the lie of temptation. It offers what it cannot provide. And like an addictive drug, it creates a deeper craving for itself with every incident of indulgence. It never satisfies the desire, it only intensifies it.
The word used here means to be sick from overindulgence. While applied to a hangover, it’s implication of much further reaching. It is a warning to pay attention lest you make yourself sick from seeking satisfaction in “things.” Things that will make us sick of them, yet leave us hopelessly addicted to them at the same time.
The second step Jesus gives is to focus on heavenly priorities through prayer. We are to pray all the time (1 Thessalonians 5:17) about everything (Philippians 4:6).
Notice the negative and positive actions. Avoid worldly distractions; focus on heavenly priorities. They are mutually opposed. The more I indulge the one, the weaker the allure of the other!
It is easy during the holiday season to become weighed down with all of these things. Overindulgence, drunkenness, and the cares of this life. Following Jesus’ instruction can help us stay prepared for His return and live lightly.
Here’s a thought to consider. What if Christ’s second coming was on the day His people are celebrating His first? We’d all be “going Home for Christmas!”