Do you find yourself so preoccupied with making a living, the constraint on your time, the cares and anxieties of daily living, the stress of it all...that you forget that Jesus is coming and when He does, as Revelation 22:12 says, His reward will be with Him "to render to every man according to what he has done"? Are you preparing for that day?

I think that sometimes in the tyranny of the urgent, in the reality and certainty of the present moment, we forget that we are accountable to God. We are accountable to Him because we are responsible to Him. As the expression goes, He bought us "lock, stock, and barrel." Just as 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, we are not our own, we were bought with a price, and we are to glorify God in our bodies — now.

Our bodies have become His temple, our members are now the members of Christ; we are His mouth, His hands, His heart. There is a calling upon our lives. Wherever we are, whatever we do, we are His ambassadors. And according to 2 Corinthians 5:19-20, as ambassadors we have been given the ministry of reconciliation.

The United States has become a wilderness, a wilderness of sin. What has happened? Truth has stumbled in the streets and there is no fear of God before our eyes. We sin blatantly and do not even recognize it as sin! Far too many are doing what is right in his own eyes because God is not their King.

Yet the United States of America has more access to the Word of God through the media and Christian literature than any other nation in the world. What then is our problem? Why have we sunk so low? Why is our nation in such discord? Why do base and evil people have their way while the righteous are scorned and put down?

The problem has to be us — you and me. If we are the salt that stops corruption, if we are the light of the world that dispels darkness, then the problem comes back to you and me.

Somehow, somewhere, we are failing. But where? Let me give you three areas to consider:

1. Is it a matter of personal holiness? Is there sin in our lives? (1 Corinthians 11:28)
2. Has the Word of God been choked out by thorns — the worries of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, the desire for other things, the pleasures of this life? (Mark 4:19; Luke 8:14) Or
3. Have we forgotten our calling? (2 Corinthians 5:19-20)

If it is sin, then sin must be dealt with. Why do you think revivals happen in churches and on college campuses? It is because Christians — those who call themselves Christians and those who truly have been born again — are dealing with sin. And when the church deals with sin and is revived, then revival spreads. The world becomes convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

If the Word of God is being choked out by the thorns mentioned above, then we need to weed our lives and get rid of those things. We must get our priorities straight.

If you have forgotten your calling, then you need to remember that your first and foremost calling is to the kingdom of God, not to the kingdom of man. Your calling is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that gospel is a twofold message: His death for our sins and His resurrection for our lives. Everything in Christendom centers around these two things — dealing with sin and living in newness of life.

What a calling the Lord has given to us as the children of God! We must seize the day, seize the opportunity! There's a needy world out there and people need hope. They need answers. The answers are found in the Word of God, man's textbook for life. Neglect the textbook, fail the exam.

What are we to do? What is our responsibility? It is to know the Word, to obey the Word, to live according to the Word — and then to proclaim it in season and out of season.

We're in the role, so to speak, of John the Baptist. John came saying, " 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.' For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, 'THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, "MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!" ' " (Matthew 3:2-3). He called people to repent — to have a change of mind. Therefore, he confronted them with their sin and with the coming of the Savior who would take away their sin. Any belief or action that is not in accord with the Word of God is sin. That's why we are to proclaim the Word! And if we are going to proclaim it, then we must know it.

The United States is a wilderness of sin — the world is a wilderness of sin. You and I are to be His voice crying in this wilderness, "Make ready the way of the Lord. Repent. The kingdom of heaven is at hand!"

It may sound old-fashioned, but people were the same in the day of John the Baptist as they are today. Repent — it was John the Baptist's message, it was Jesus' message, and it is to be our message. And, dear friend, if you are not getting the Word out, blood will be upon your hands (Acts 20:26-27). If you are not living it, then it is not going to be a happy time for you when He comes, bringing His reward with Him.

If you compare Matthew 3:1-3 with Isaiah 40:3-10, you will see that we are here to prepare people for the day when the glory of the Lord will be revealed. This is our primary calling in life. We are to give out the good news. We are, so to speak, to raise the valleys and bring the mountains and hills low (Isaiah 40:4) — to level out the hills of stress, lower the mountainous pressures, and raise the valleys of depression with the Word of God which stands forever. We are to teach and show people how to live in the light of His coming for, "Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him and His recompense before Him. Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom..." (Isaiah 40:10-11).

One day you will give an account for the way you have lived as a child of God, so don't let the pressures and preoccupation with the things of this life keep you from your calling.

"Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:15-17).

My friend, fervently pursue your high calling.

Kay Arthur
Host, Precepts For Life
Co-CEO, Precept Ministries International