The rapture refers to the event described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, when Christ will descend from heaven and believers who have died will be resurrected first. Then believers who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ in the air. The rapture is the next major event on the prophetic calendar and could happen at any moment (1 Thessalonians 5:2). As Christians, we should live each day with the expectancy that the rapture could occur and we want to be ready when it happens.
Repent of Your Sins
In order to be ready for the rapture, you must repent of your sins and believe in the gospel. When you repent, you turn away from your sins and turn toward God (Acts 3:19). You acknowledge your sinfulness and ask God for forgiveness, cleansing, and transformation. True repentance involves both confessing your sins and turning away from them. Ask God to reveal any areas of unconfessed sin in your life so that you can repent and be cleansed (Psalm 139:23-24). Confess known sins on a daily basis and turn away from sinful behaviors, attitudes, and thought patterns. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, God will empower you to overcome temptation (1 John 1:9). As you make it a habit to repent frequently, you will be ready for the Lord’s return.
Believe in Christ
You must receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior in order to be saved from God’s coming judgment and wrath (Romans 5:9). Salvation is found in no one else but Christ (Acts 4:12). You receive salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). When you place your trust in Jesus and His finished work on the cross, the Bible says your sins are forgiven, you are saved from eternal separation from God, and you receive eternal life (John 3:16). God grants salvation freely to those who believe. Make sure you have trusted in Christ alone for salvation so that you will be ready to meet Him at the rapture.
Walk in Obedience
As believers, we are called to walk in obedience to God’s Word and His commands. We want to be found faithful when Christ returns (Matthew 25:23). This means adhering to biblical principles for how to live a God-honoring life. Study the Bible daily and allow the Holy Spirit to convict you of any areas that need adjustment. Learn God’s standards for speech, conduct, ethical decisions, stewardship, sexual purity, and all matters of life. Then apply what you learn and allow the Spirit to produce His fruit in you (Galatians 5:22-23). An obedient walk also means fulfilling the Great Commission by sharing your faith. While salvation is by grace alone, good works and obedience are evidence of true salvation (James 2:14-26). Walking in holiness and evangelizing the lost will help ensure you are ready for Jesus’ imminent return.
Watch and Pray
An attitude of watchfulness and prayerfulness will help keep you ready for the Lord’s return. Jesus instructed believers to “watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42). This involves living intentionally and redemptively in light of Christ’s imminent return. Anticipate His coming, long for His appearing, and look for His return on a daily basis. But watchfulness also means guarding against drifting into spiritual laziness, disobedience, or complacency. Pray regularly for Christ’s return, for many to come to salvation, for spiritual wakefulness, and for strength to finish your race strong (Luke 21:36). Maintaining a heart of vigilance and persistent prayer will enable you to be ready when He comes.
As Christians, we are called to pursue holiness, purity, and Christlike character. The author of Hebrews writes, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). Our holy God calls us to reflect His pure nature. This means adhering to God’s standards of morality, integrity, self-control, and conduct as revealed in Scripture. It means pursuing righteous character and a clear conscience. Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of any impure behaviors or attitudes that need to change. Set safeguards and standards in your life to maintain moral purity. As we strive to live holy lives in response to the grace we’ve received, we will be prepared to meet our holy God.
Fellowship with Believers
Spending time with other believers helps keep our focus heavenward in anticipation of Christ’s return. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Do not neglect to meet together…but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Attend church gatherings faithfully. Fellowship regularly with strong believers who will strengthen and encourage your faith. Join a small group Bible study for discipleship and accountability. Use your spiritual gifts to serve your local church body. Being integrated in a solid, Bible-believing church and community of believers will stimulate watchfulness and mutual encouragement as you wait for the rapture together.
Walk by the Spirit
The Bible instructs believers to walk by the Spirit, not by the flesh (Galatians 5:16-17). This means submitting to the Spirit’s control and relying on His power to overcome sinful desires. To walk by the Spirit means nurturing constant communion with Him through prayer, worship, and meditating on His truth. Let the Spirit guide your thoughts, words, and actions each day. Allow the Spirit to cultivate His fruit in your life such as love, joy, peace, patience, and self-control. The Holy Spirit empowers believers for holy living and discernment to know truth from deception. Staying Spirit-filled will enable you to identify and resist false teaching while anchoring your hope in Christ’s return.
The Bible calls us to purify ourselves in light of Christ’s return. 1 John 3:2-3 says, “When he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” Make it your aim to purify your heart, mind, motives, and conduct. Evaluate aspects of your lifestyle that may displease God such as entertainment choices, influences, or relationships. Limit activities that stir impure thoughts. Be careful about media content you allow into your mind. Ask God to cleanse wrong desires and replace them with eternal perspective. The purifying hope of seeing Jesus face-to-face one day motivates us to live righteously until He comes.
Focus on Eternity
Keeping an eternal perspective is key to remaining watchful for Christ’s return. Paul says in Colossians 3:2, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Remind yourself daily that this world is temporary, but eternity awaits. Refuse to become absorbed by thetemporal concerns of career, reputation, pleasure, or material gain. Invest your time, talents, and treasures in the kingdom of God which will endure forever. Allowing earthly things to occupy your affections will lead to spiritual apathy. But when your heart is centered on eternity, you will live in readiness for the rapture.
Store Up Treasures in Heaven
Jesus instructed His followers to store up eternal treasures rather than earthly ones (Matthew 6:19-21). When your priorities and investments are centered on the heavenly realm rather than this passing world, your heart will be properly oriented. Use your finances to generously support kingdom work. Look for opportunities to share the gospel and make disciples who will populate heaven. Find ways you can volunteer your time and talents to further God’s eternal purposes. Invest in friendships with other believers and build them up in their faith. Care more about impact for eternity than worldly status or comfort. Labor faithfully with an eye on heaven.
Keep Your Lamps Full
In Jesus’ Parable of the Ten Virgins, He emphasized the need for watchful believers to keep their lamps full and burning until He returns (Matthew 25:1-13). Oil represents the Holy Spirit whom believers receive when they first put their faith in Christ. Just as oil fueled the virgins’ lamps, the Holy Spirit powers the light of Christ in every believer. But we have the responsibility to cooperate with the Spirit and allow Him to continually fill us. Prayer, worship, Bible study, confession of sin, service, and fellowship with other believers are means by which we remain Spirit-filled. Don’t let your spiritual fire go out as you wait for the Lord. Keep your lamps full and bright.
Hold Loosely to the World
A disposition of loosely holding onto the things of this world will keep your focus heavenward. The Bible warns against developing an excessive attachment to material possessions, wealth, careers, hobbies, relationships, or achievements (1 John 2:15-17). These passions compete with your devotion to Christ. Though God blesses us to enjoy aspects of life in this world, remain constantly willing to relinquish anything that has become an idol. Ask the Lord to instill in you an eternal perspective that lightly grasps earthly things including people and possessions. Hold everything in open hands, ready to leave it all behind at the rapture.
Look for Christ, Not Antichrist
While many look for telltale signs of the Antichrist’s emerging power, Scripture instructs us to be watchful and wait expectantly for Christ Himself (Titus 2:13). Don’t become distracted by trying to ascertain exactly how end time events will unfold. The Bible warns that many will be deceived by false signs, miracles, and doctrines in the last days (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). But Jesus says true believers will recognize these deceptions (John 10:4-5). Rather than overly focusing on identifying the Antichrist, look for evidences of Christ’s work in the world while anticipating His return. Remember that Scripture warns and informs us so that we will turn our eyes to Jesus.
Consider Persecution a Blessing
Jesus predicted increased persecution as one of the signs of His coming (Matthew 24:9-13). But He also said end-time persecution would provide opportunities for believers to be witnesses. Rather than fearing persecution, look at it as a blessing to testify of Christ’s work in your life. Pray for the strength and grace to joyfully endure mistreatment, remembering you share in the sufferings of Christ (Acts 5:41, Philippians 1:29, 1 Peter 4:13-16). Ask God for boldness to proclaim the gospel under pressure. A spirit of sacrifice and loyalty to Christ, even in the face of hostility, will ensure you are ready for the Master’s return.
Keep a Sense of Urgency
Knowing Christ’s return is imminent should instill in believers a sense of urgency to use the time wisely. The hour is late and the Day draws near (Romans 13:11-12). Prioritize the things that have eternal significance while refusing to waste time on meaningless diversions. Be diligent and dedicated in your service to the Lord, working heartily as serving Him (Colossians 3:23-24). Invest generously and sacrifice willingly out of devotion to Christ. Share the gospel at every opportunity, realizing people’s eternal destiny hangs in the balance. Lead others to salvation while there is still time. Continually nurture an urgent heart for the kingdom that drives you to faithful obedience until He comes.
Test Eschatological Teachings
In the last days, Jesus said false prophets would arise to deceive people regarding His return (Matthew 24:4-5, 23-26). We must test all end time doctrines against the truth of Scripture. Prophecy teachers or authors who set firm dates for Christ’s return should be rejected, since Jesus said no one knows the day or hour (Matthew 24:36). Be cautious of sensational speculation about identifying the Antichrist or interpreting the symbolic imagery of Revelation. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern truth from exaggerated hype. Ground yourself in the doctrines clearly taught in Scripture. Refuse to be misled by clever eschatological errors and speculation. The Bible contains all you need to be ready.
Remember that Jesus Is Returning
Above all, stay mindful that this age will culminate in Christ’s literal, visible, physical return when all eyes will see Him (Revelation 1:7). Jesus spoke often about His second coming while urging His followers to be ready. His return will be swift, sudden, and unexpected for many (Luke 17:26-30). But believers who are waiting, watching, and ready will receive their eternal reward. At the rapture, He will gather His own and take them to the Father’s house to be with Him forever (John 14:3). Keep your hope set on the thrilling moment when you will see Jesus face to face in fullness of joy. Maranatha! “Our Lord, come!” (1 Corinthians 16:22).