January 21, 2019
Verse for the Week: Philippians 2:12b-13; “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
I can’t say that I love to cook, but I do love to eat. And to enjoy a well-cooked meal, prep work is essential. It begins with the end in mind. From there a plan is designed. Action is taken. And the vision is implemented.
Prep work doesn’t only apply to cooking, although it is a great metaphor for any endeavor because it paints a picture that prep is paramount to success. And although success can be defined in a myriad of ways, it often comes down to proven results.
This process of actualization is universal. Be it a meal, a product, an event, or a well-written book. It takes planning and action that produce results.
This concept is also intricately woven into many stories of the Bible. We see it as John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus (Matthew 3), and the parable of the bridesmaids as they prepared to meet the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13).
Although we don’t get as much detail as we’d like, we get enough to capture the importance of being alert, ready with expectation, and actively preparing a good way toward a desired end.
John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord by teaching repentance. In his declaration, he makes it very clear that fruit will follow as proof of their follow-through. In essence—results!
In the parable of the Bridesmaids, we are told that preparedness stems from a posture of readiness. Only half of them were prepared and ready with oil for their lamps. They all had foresight of what they hoped for yet only five of the ten took steps to be prepared for it, in turn they were received into the wedding banquet. Again—results!
Scripture confirms that we were created to work. God commissioned people to work alongside Him and participate as co-laborers in Christ with the end in mind. A foreshadow of eternity that is to come.
As Christ-followers and studiers of His word, we know the final outcome, our final destination. And we are each called to prepare for this glorious reveal. We do this by preparing for the journey. And also the wait. The trials. And also the joys. The predictable and also the unpredictable.
This type of preparation requires a posture of readiness which is an affirmation of expectation. A state of mind that champions conviction. It takes diligence. Alertness. And a call to action that proves a commitment to the cause. It alters our identity. Deepens our resolve. Accentuates our passion and propels us to our purpose.
Preparation is not only Biblical but practical. This can apply in every aspect of life. Our first focus of preparation lies in the eternal. That is our ultimate end. And we are considered wise to prepare and be prepared for its coming. Yet before the eternal is realized we are bound by the life that precedes.
This is because so much of life is spent in preparation for something. We prepare for college by testing. For marriage by dating. We prepare for parenting, meetings, meals, events. You name it, prep work is a solid requirement.
Philippians 2:12-13 calls us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in us to accomplish His good plans and purposes. This means even our life as a Christian requires us to work because God has good plans and purposes for us to accomplish which would not happen to us or through us without our active involvement.
Take a look at your life—where you spend your time, and why? What activities do you engage in on a regular basis, and what they are producing in you and through you? Are you preparing with the end in mind? Or just taking one day at a time, living on auto-pilot and hoping for the best?
Perhaps it’s time to engage in a little prep work as a co-laborer with Christ. Live your life with this as motivation. Let the end bid you to a journey of passion, purpose, and preparedness. He has wonderful things in store just for you!
Lord God, Help me to do the prep work necessary for the journey ahead in a posture of readiness and expectation of eternity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
This week lets take some time to consider our journey with the end in mind. Ponder what is important to that end and discern what prep work is paramount for the journey ahead.
Hugs for a great week and remember, you are not alone. Be blessed as you posture your life in readiness and expectation.