God is getting His people prepared for the return of His Son, Jesus Christ. In all walks of life preparation is vital. It may not always be enjoyable, but necessary. We educate our children in school for a minimum of ten years in preparation for adulthood in the natural world. In God’s kingdom there is a preparation also to enable us to walk in God’s straight paths. Isaiah 40:3 exhorts: “…..Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God…” John the Baptist echoed that same message. Mark 1:3 John heralds: “…Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight”.
When we entered into salvation we became perfect in God’s eyes through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son. We know that Jesus will return for His Bride, the Church. After salvation we are a new creation in Christ and in that position we have a spiritual journey on earth to learn God’s ways. As we learn to walk in the new life, we shed our old ways of thinking and acting as our minds are renewed in Christ and a spiritual transformation takes place which alters the way we live our lives. We discover the joys of a new way of living. Romans 12:2 exhorts us: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God”. Along our journey testing will surely come, but these trials of faith (1 Peter 1:7) are for us to prove God in the mix of life for divine purpose, transformed for eternity, conforming us to another measure of the fullness of His Son, (Ephesians 4:13).
The heart of man is the seat of human responsibility. A breakdown of the word responsibilty features the ability to respond. The Holy Spirit searches our hearts and at times may prompt us to ask the question, “Is my heart right with God?” Under His spotlight, the Holy Spirit reveals the contents and motives of our heart which we are often unaware of, until He shows us. Very often, our first response is disgust followed quickly by condemnation of ourselves. Thankfully, God has given us a fully comprehensive package in His word to deal with this situation. 1 John 1: 5-10 presents the way of humility, repentance and restored fellowship with the Father. Verse 9 declares “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. To embrace God’s provision through Christ is a continuing walk of preparation. Everything we need for our earthly walk with the Lord is provided in our birthright in Jesus. He made the way, He is the Way. I don’t have to make another way, and when I do, I discover it does not work! Humility is vital, as is a surrender of my stubborn will. God resists the proud, (1 Peter 5:5)………But Jesus says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”, Matthew 11: 28-30.
Our Saviour, the Servant King demonstrated humility. He left the glories of Heaven and made Himself of no reputation (Philippians 2: 5-8), and took upon Him the form of a servant and became obedient to His Father, even unto death on a cross…….for us. Throughout the history of the church, many have sought ministry with wrong motives. The ministry of helps is rarely mentioned in people seeking position in ministry. The pride of man has sought titles, recognition and position, failing to see that the Master demonstrated that the greatest ministry was to serve others. John 13 records Jesus, the Son of God, washing the disciples feet and encouraging them to follow His example. This was considered the lowest of a servant’s duties. We may not be required to wash another’s feet literally, but the example and lesson teaches us to serve one another as the Lord leads us. Remember His words, “Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto Me. Inasmuch as you have NOT done it to the least of these, you have NOT done it unto Me”, Matthew 25:40-45.
So, is my heart right with God? An important part of preparation is to cease from judging my fellowmen who we deem not “coming up to the mark” in our opinion, God’s or anyone else’s. Scripture has much instruction to cease from this pitfall and actually calls us inexcusable in God’s eyes when we do, Romans 2:1. We cannot help but observe, but to judge, condemn and despise is wrong – far better to pray for them in humility. If we are different to other men, Paul asks the question, “What do we have that we did not first receive (from the Lord), so we have no place to glory”, (see 1 Corinthians 4:7 for full script).
God’s work in us is a joyous thing, bringing many sons to glory. See the journey of preparation as our Father sees it from His perspective, bristling with opportunities to prove Him in every circumstance and relationship, resulting in deeper fellowship with Him. You are the apple of His eye and He rejoices over you. Yes, you!
“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty, he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing”, Zephaniah 3:17.