Week 1 of Advent: Preparation
What if someone famous that you admired was coming to your house today? What would you do to prepare and get ready? Who would you tell about it? Who would you invite? In Isaiah 40, the prophet Isaiah foretells about John the Baptist who would be the voice crying out, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Isaiah wrote:
“A voice of one crying out: Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert. Every valley will be lifted up, and every mountain and hill will be leveled; the uneven ground will become smooth and the rough places, a plain. And the glory of the Lord will appear, and all humanity together will see it,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Prepare the Way of the Lord
Whenever the President visits a city, the local police and the secret service work together to close down road, plot out a path, and create a way for him to reach his destination. In Isaiah’s day, if a king or dignitary was going to visit, the way would have to be prepared. This often meant repairing roads, removing fallen trees or other obstacles, and eliminating all detours so that there would be no barriers to the king’s arrival.
Prepare the way by Removing the obstacles
Isaiah tells us that in a similar way we are to “prepare the way for the LORD.” At Christmas we celebrate the coming of the King, so it’s important to prepare our hearts for his coming by removing the obstacles that stand between us and a right relationship with God. These obstacles can be sins, such as hatred, bitterness, anger, addictions, sexual sins, lies, or any other barrier that stands between you and the Lord. It could be things, hobbies, or people that you have made a higher priority in your life than God. Obstacles can be anything that controls your heart that doesn’t allow God to have control. It can be anything you have not surrendered to Him. And it can be any lack of faith you have for believing God.
Whatever barriers and obstacles you’ve allowed to be in the way prevents you from allowing the Lord to have complete and total Lordship of your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the areas that are obstacles and barriers to your relationship with God and the areas that you have not fully surrendered to Him. Repent and ask the Holy Spirit to help you remove these barriers and open the way for Christ to fully reign and rule in you.
Prepare the way by developing Godly ways
Preparing the way isn’t just removing what is in the way, but its also fixing what’s wrong. We do this by developing Godly ways, habits and practices. We don’t just need to develop them, but we also need to live them out consistently. Without studying, memorizing, and applying God’s instructions to us that we find in His Word, we will not be able to develop Godly ways. Certainly we can learn Godly ways by going to church, but growing in Christ comes from hiding God’s Word in our heart, asking the Holy Spirit to “search me and know my thoughts,” and being doers of the Word.
Prepare the way by living Godly ways
All around us the world watches us. They want to know what is different about us. We can prepare the way for Jesus to come into the heart of someone else by living a life that honors and glorifies God in our words and actions. As we pray for those who are lost or those who have wandered away from God, we prepare a way for for Jesus to enter their lives or draw them back to Him. We can witness to them by telling them what God has done for us or inviting them to church.
Prepare a way to your own heart
Often times, we think we’re doing pretty good as we compare ourselves to the world, but none of us are without sin and God is always working to grow and develop our faith. So we need to make sure we are allowing the Holy Spirit to convict us and clean out the areas of sin so that God has a path to work in our lives the way that desires.
How do you need to prepare a way?
As we make preparation for the Christmas season this year, be brave enough to spend time alone with the Holy Spirit and ask Him how you need to prepare a way for Christ – whether that’s clearing out obstacles, developing Godly habits, living Godly ways, or making a path for God to grow your faith.
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What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?
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