In chess, it is the move that you were not expecting that kills you. Just as homeowners must take preventative measures to protect their property, so we are commanded not to be caught unaware when the King returns.
The command in Luke 12:40 is to “be continually ready,” or “to make ready or be prepared.” His coming will be a surprise, so we must always be ready to be surprised and then prepared to stand before Him. Jesus clarified this intent when He said, “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly” (Luke 21:34).
We can only imagine our embarrassment if the sudden return of Christ caught us in the act of disgraceful and secret sin.
Paul wrote similarly, “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night . . . But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief . . . Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober . . . putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thes 5:2, 4, 6, 8).
Peter said that everything will be destroyed anyway: “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God . . . ? . . . Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Pet 3:10–-12, 14).
The sudden end of the church age and instant appearance of the Lord are themes throughout the New Testament. John concludes, “Everyone who has this hope in Him [that His return is sudden and imminent] purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 Jn 3:3). Selfishness, boastfulness, pleasure seeking, and accumulation of wealth are meaningless. Stay busy for Him until He surprises you in the middle of finishing a task for Him.
“Lord, I know sin is ever at the door, seeking to motivate us to disregard Your word and act selfishly. May my heart and mind listen to Your voice always.”