Good and thorough preparation is so important if a project or activity is to be successfully accomplished. Whether it be the most intricate of medical procedures, the humblest of domestic chores, or any strenuous athletic activity, preparation of equipment, personnel and, in some situations, the surrounding environment is necessary.
When a journey is anticipated, especially abroad, many things have to be considered in the preparation stages. Most will agree that it isn’t just a matter of putting clothes in a suitcase! Tickets, passports, visas, accommodation, transport are but a few of the numerous things that also have to be considered. Then there are perhaps the arrangements that have to be made when leaving one’s home unoccupied for a period of time. All these things may be irksome, but are so necessary, if the trip is to bring the pleasure and satisfaction that is intended.
There are other areas of life which also require careful preparation, for example marriage, the birth of a baby, moving house, celebrations, and entertaining visitors. We all do our best to be adequately prepared and ready for events such as these.
As, once again, we find ourselves preparing to celebrate the event that changed the course of human history, the birth of Jesus, our Saviour, I wonder how many of us are preparing for His second advent. Jesus made it clear that He is preparing a place for us in heaven and is going to return to take us there (John 14 :2-3). We don’t know exactly when that will be, but the question is are we ready? Are we excitedly anticipating His return, just as children anticipate Christmas each year?
Jesus gives a challenging illustration in Matthew 25 of two groups of people, (bridesmaids), who were waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom. One group was ready, and the other group thought they were, but, unfortunately, the opposite was true.
It is evident from Scripture that Jesus is the ‘Bridegroom’ (Ephesians 5:25-27). He is going to return for us, His Bride, His Church, those He has redeemed by His death on the cross and who now belong to Him. Paul tells us here that, at that time, the bride will be ‘spotless and without blemish’.
I find that challenging, because, if we are really preparing and getting ready for the Lord’s return, we must ensure that we are living our lives in a way that pleases and honours Him. We need to make certain that anything in our lives that doesn’t, is brought to Him for cleansing and forgiveness.
Elsewhere, Paul encourages His readers, ‘Let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God’ (2 Corinthians 7:1, NLT).
The Lord says ‘Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so that they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed’ (Revelation 16:15, NLT).
Later in Revelation we are told that the bride prepares herself in the finest of pure white linen which represents the good deeds of God’s people (Revelation 19:7-8). Now that is yet another challenge, isn’t it?
Am I prepared? Are you prepared?
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