In the parable of Luke 12:35 lies the key to preparing for the Biblical Day of Judgment, wherein our world, as we know it, will pass away. In this verse, Christ says to “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when He comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.”

Christ’s scriptural promise is clear: He is going to come back someday, and when He does, we must be ready.

Judgment Day isn’t some crazy concept cooked up by red-faced televangelists—it’s a real, scriptural concept. Acts 17:31 tells us that God “has set a day in which He purposes to judge the inhabited earth.” But while this event is often accompanied by frightening, fire-and-brimstone imagery in popular culture, the Biblical reality is actually much more comforting.

Instead of being a time of fear and pain, Judgment Day is God’s act of ultimate mercy and love. Revelation 21:1-4 gives us a glimpse of what’s in store for believers.

“Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’”

In essence, Judgment Day will give back to humanity the perfect world which Adam and Eve lost. All that has passed away will be remade in perfection—as God originally intended.

For those who persist in their sin, however, there is a different fate described just a few verses later.

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

It is here that we find what it means to be unprepared for Judgment Day. Sin is what separates us from God in life, and it is what will separate us from God after Judgment Day.

This latter separation is permanent. Once Judgment Day has passed, there are no more chances. There is no reset button.

Are you ready to be on the right side when the day comes? Let’s go over a few essential habits that will help you makes sure that you’re making the choices that will prepare you for Judgment Day.

Seek a Deep Understanding of Scripture

The key to preparing for Judgment Day is to know God’s standards of living, and there’s only one way to do that—read your Bible.

But just opening your Bible to a random verse every couple of days isn’t going to cut it. You need to dig deep. You need to gain an understanding that’s deep enough to guide your thoughts, choices, and the very way in which you see the world.

This means that you need to study the Bible in a thorough, organized way. Every verse in the Bible has three elements that are essential to your understanding: a speaker, an audience, and a context. These three elements will affect your interpretation of a verse—without knowing them, you run the risk of misunderstanding God’s Will.

For example, Leviticus 19:27-28 forbids “tattoos” and “cutting the flesh.” While many automatically assume that this condemnation of tattoos extends to us, today, a closer reading of Leviticus 19 reveals something entirely different. All of the commands Moses is passing down from God to the Israelites are based on the context of their current situation. Verses 27 and 28 forbid tattoos because tattooing was a pagan burial practice that Moses did not wish the Israelites to indulge in.

Pay close attention to scripture as you read, and avoid making assumptions like this. You’ll become able to truly discern what God wants from you, and just as importantly, what He doesn’t. In this, you’ll be prepared when the Day of Judgment arrives.

Cultivate a Living Relationship With God

Scriptural knowledge can give you an idea of God’s character, as well as what He wants from you, but it’s only one part of the puzzle. Cultivating a real relationship with God is just as important.

You get close to God in the same way you’d grow close to a beloved friend or family member: you communicate and give Him your time. Make time each day to pray, thanking God for what He has done for you, and asking for the things you need. Remember—He is your father, and wants the best for you. Just ask!