Pastoral Articles

Prepare the Way of the Lord

Prepare the Way of the Lord

Pastor Jeff VanGoethem

Luke 3:1-6

Much of life is preparation.  My work involves a lot of preparation.  It seems I am always preparing for something.  I once caught myself making notes before I called my mother.  It’s a pretty ingrained habit by now.

Trial lawyers have to always be preparing.  You can’t just walk into court and start talking, you have to do your research and be ready.  Teachers have to organize their lesson plans and have a plan every single day.  That’s a lot of preparation.

Even in professions like nursing, policing and public safety you have to be prepared.  These jobs may appear to be the kind of jobs in which you are responding to what is happening, however a lot of preparation goes into knowing what to do when the time comes.

I think it was Robert Murray McCheyne who said that in his prayer time he spent most of the time preparing to pray.  So yes, even in the spiritual realm we are always preparing.

As we begin another new year, I find myself asking, “what can we do to prepare for the Lord to really work in this coming year?”  Perhaps the passage above gives us a hint.  It is familiar to most of us I think – introducing the ministry of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus’ public ministry.

First of all, if anything is going to happen, it must come because God’s Word is speaking (Luke 3:2).  The Word of God came to John and so the Word of God must come to us.  Are we open to God speaking His Word into our hearts afresh?  Are we ready to hear and respond?  We hear the Word frequently but do we do what it tells us to do?  Are we in touch with God?

Secondly, we must be willing to be called to repentance (Luke 3:3).  That’s the preparation John called for.  We are not ready to walk with Jesus when we are carrying all kinds of sins and idols in our hearts.  What must we leave behind in this coming year for the Lord to really work?   Are we willing to lay such things aside and put the Lord first in our lives?  Can we dig down way deep in our souls to expose the sins and idols that are deeply covered?  Can we come clean with God?

Third we must pray for and trust in God’s power (Luke 3:4-5). These verses display things only God can do.  We cannot fill in the valleys or lower the mountains.  But God can.  Yes we want to make ourselves ready but we need God to work, to intervene, to deliver, to show Himself.  What breakthroughs can we be praying about for the coming year?  Are we willing to wait patiently for God to move without losing faith, without ceasing to pray?

Finally, we must pray for souls (Luke, 6:6).  What good is our ministry if people are not coming to Christ?  That was the bottom line for the ministry of the Lord Jesus.  And so we too want to see the “salvation of the Lord.”  Are we praying for souls?  Are we willing to be used by God in evangelism?  Are we working?  Are we asking God for fresh awakenings?

Prepare the way of the Lord!  Let’s prepare our hearts to receive afresh His glorious Word.  Let’s repent deeply of anything which could hinder the Lord’s work.  Let’s continue to pray without ceasing, asking God to display His power. And let’s ask God for souls and work to win them to Jesus.

May the Lord give us a great year serving Him together and seeing His powerful hand at work.

 

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