WE CANNOT JUST CHECK THE BOX

By Tammy Phillips
December 20, 2022

The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the LORD.
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:3)

“Prepare”  in Isaiah 40 :3 is the Hebrew word , pānâ, which means: turn toward; turn and look at; to face; in the presence of; to remove; to take out of the way; to clear a way; to put in order.

In the New Testament verses of Mathew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4, and  John 1:23, John the Baptist says he is  the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”  The Greek word for “prepare”  in the above verses is hetoimazō, meaning,  to make the necessary preparations and get everything ready. This word meaning is also drawn from the oriental custom of sending on before kings on their journeys persons to level the roads, make them passable, and clear every obstacle.

It is easy to prepare for the Christmas festivities.(Hahaha)  I have three books, a multitude of lists, a computer and phone.   I make the list and check the box. Complete. In the end, I am prepared, ready, or not.   We cannot just check the salvation box and think we are complete.  We must prepare for the day we meet Jesus face to face and attend the marriage feast of the lamb. 

Are we preparing the way of the Lord?  
We prepare for everything else
We shower and dress  to get ready for the day.
We prepare agendas for meetings and itineraries for trips.
We plan meals, whether a week ahead or a minute before.
We orchestrate wedding plans and festivities, step by step, months and years in advance.
We book flights for upcoming travel.
We  prepare for Christmas meals, parties, pictures, decorations, and gifts.  
We make exhaustive lists.  We check them twice, thrice and a multitude of times.
We have to prepare so we are ready for the events of the day and seasons.

Are you prepared?  Are you ready?

Would you go into a meeting unprepared?
Would you sit down for dinner and just think food will magically appear?
Would you go on a date without getting ready?
Would you agree to an engagement when no relationship had been built?
Would you host a wedding with no planning at all?
Would you face the day with no clothes, buck naked?  (That used to be one of my worst nightmares.)

The answer to all the above questions is “NO.”

Why in the world, when we are told to prepare the way of the Lord, do we think we can simply check off a salvation box,  enter into the gates of heaven and meet our Savior face to face?

The inspired word of God through Paul in Philippians 2:12 says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”  [Phl 2:12 NKJV]. Marriage is work.  We have to commit to marriage for it to last. We have to work on our relationships for them to succeed.  Marriage is not a one and done act.  It is not checking off a box.  It is an everyday  surrender.

Our relationship with the Lord is worked out every day. 

It is obedience to His word, His will, and His way. 
It is following in His footsteps.
It is  surrender.
It is dying to self, minute by minute.
It is commitment.
It is taking the time to get to know Him.
It is relationship.
It is His call and our answer.
It is not just checking off the salvation box. 

I enCOURAGE you to stop playing at being a Christian and to prepare the way of the Lord in your heart.  “The idea of preparing the way of the LORD is a word picture because the real preparation must take place in our hearts. Building a road is very much like the preparation God must do in our hearts. They are both expensive, they both must deal with many different problems and environments, and they both take an expert engineer.” – David Guzik

Prepare your hearts to meet Jesus because He has been preparing to meet you face to face for a while now.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also. [John 14:22-23 KJV]

Have you made straight in the desert of your heart a highway for our God?
Has every valley been  exalted?
Has every mountain and hill  been brought low?
Have the crooked places been made straight?
Have the rough places been smoothed so that  the  glory of the LORD will be revealed?

Are you prepared to meet Jesus today?  He is coming again, ready, or not. 

“Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.” [Amos 4:12]

 

 

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