Monday, October 01, 2007

Preparing The Way...

Today I am at home watching over my oldest kid, Machaela. She has a bit of the flu that started yesterday. The worst of it has passed, and she is getting energetic again. So, to pass the day, I was given the task of folding all the laundry that as been washed. In fact, that is my youngest child, Jayden in the photo. He wanted to help fold! We get busy, and often we live with one hand in the clean laundry basket and the other on the iron. But, when one of us is home, we get the chance to catch up and get a clean slate.

So, when I am not online blogging, I am folding clothes and putting them away. I am doing my best to prepare the way for my wife to return to a home with every clean article of clothing folded and put away. It is really taking away a lot of clutter that builds up. It looks so clean!

As I have been folding, that theme of "preparing the way" has been in the front of my mind. It has some deep Biblical roots. It was foretold throughout the Old Testament that one would come ahead of the Messiah and prepare the way before him. Just read passages like Isaiah 40 and Malachi 3.

Indeed, it happened just as God said it would (was there ever a question of that ?). John the Baptist arrived on the scene and began to preach that people needed to turn from their sins, even calling for a sign of such repentance, that being baptism.
John's ministry was one of preparation for the Savior, Jesus Christ.

But the need to prepare didn't end with John. Even as born-again believers, we too have a real need to get ready for the things God has for us. We have hinderances and sins that hold us back. It reminds me of a couple of kings from Judah. One king, whose name was Ahaz, was a wicked king who did heinous things in worship to false gods, like child sacrifice. When he did these things, he pushed his religion by way of example. The people of Judah would follow, sadly. They worshiped false gods on what was called the High Places. These were places of worship set up like mini temples and altars. God despised such deplorable worship.

Ahaz eventually died, and his son Hezekiah became the new king. The Bible says that he did right in God's eyes. Now, one wonders amid such paganism how he grew up loving God, but he did. And Hezekiah set things right, clearing away the pagan places of worship.

The New Testament makes it clear that we are to lay aside the junk that clutters our walk with God, as well. Jesus taught us that hearts filled with the cares of this life and pursuit of riches and pleasure will keep the Word of God from producing any fruit. He also told us that our decision to follow him must be of greatest importance in our lives. We can't pursue Christ and our own ambitions both. He bluntly said it this way: "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the Kindom of God." (Luke 9:62) He calls us to "sell out" our own desires and wants for a life in passionate pursuit of him. Hear him in Matthew 13:44. "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."

The writer to the Hebrews gave us a discourse in the faithful of the Old Testament in Hebrews 11. Then in the next chapter, he brings their walk of faith home in our own lives. "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb. 12:1-2)

What is in your life today that is holding you back? What is there that God is putting his finger on and saying, "let it go"? Look, it may not be sinful in and of itself. But when "stuff" holds us back from God's plan, I believe it becomes sin to us. Whenever our "stuff", be it physical or even simply ambition, it keeps us from running this race called the Christ life effectively. Why do you think runners wear the thinnest, lightest materials possible while racing? Why do swimmers shave off exposed body hair and wear tight swim caps? It makes them quicker, and cuts down on drag. It has less resistance. That is why it is so imperative to lay aside every weight that would hold us back from chasing our Lord Jesus. We just don't need our cluttered with junk we don't need.

Well, who would have thought all this would come from a day of folding clothes?

God bless!

No comments: