Character Quality: Prepared
Character Quality: Prepared
We do it all the time.
We get ready for the day. Ready for the party. Ready for the presentation, the test, the appointment. We get ready for meetings. We get ready for the trip, the holidays, the weekend or the beginning of a new week. Seems we are always getting ready for something.
We rush to get ready. We hurry and worry. We wonder if we have it all, if we have forgotten anything, if it really matters. We pack and repack. Plan and adjust. Call, text and message to track our progress.
We keep thinking there’s got to be a better way. We create new ways to get ready. We create lists and elaborate spreadsheets. We promise ourselves and everyone else we are going to get better, stop waiting till the last minute, and figure it out.
But we don’t.
Not because we don’t want to but often because when we would have taken the time to think through how to get ready better, we are on to the next thing to get ready for. And the cycle repeats itself. At our best we sing through it, maybe even laugh and make jokes. At our worse we grow impatient and grumpy, making everyone around us miserable. Yep, done that.
Here is some good news: our lives are about much more than getting ready for the next event or vacation or day. We have an opportunity each day to live beyond here. We have the ultimate homecoming to get ready for and we do so by living each day with intentionality and focus, by preparing.
Both Peter and Paul wrote about the importance of being prepared throughout their books in the New Testament. In Romans 9.23 and Ephesians 2.10 Paul writes about how God has prepared in advance for us personally.
Similarly, Peter writes to Christians of the importance of being prepared. In I Peter 1.13 he admonishes “prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the hope on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ”.
This idea of being prepared means that we get ready for His inevitable return. He is coming back to take us home. We would be wise to live each day in preparation for that day, not just today. The psalmist reminds us that we have no guarantee of tomorrow, so we need to live each moment preparing to meet our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Stephen lived prepared. He boldly answered his accusers in Acts 7. He had been falsely accused of blasphemy, when asked if the charges were true, he boldly reviewed their history and God’s faithfulness that led into the gospel message. He did not falter, in Acts 7.51-53 he confronted them for having persecuted and killed the prophets and ultimately the Righteous One.
That morning he couldn’t have known it would be his his last day. For Stephen he was simply living prepared. He had prepared daily long before that day, to answer those who would ask about the hope that was within him.
The apostle Peter says we all live prepared in I Peter 3.15-16. We have the hope, the assurance of Heaven, eternal life with God. Scripture says that Stephen’s face was as an angel. I believe it was because of his hope. Our faces should also reflect the hope we have. When they do, people are going to start asking. Let’s resolve to be prepared to give then an answer.
So how do we live prepared? Here are a few simple ways we can get ready today and everyday for that great reunion and home-going we who are in Christ anticipate.
1. Read His word and listen to His voice. There is no designated time or length of time required. He’s not looking for that, He exists outside of time. He is looking at your heart. Invest in your relationship with the One you’re going to spend eternity with.
2. Worship Him. As Paul writes in Ephesians, “sing and make melody in your heart”. Allow Him to be your song. Worshiping Him will help you to set your mind on things beyond here, it will prepare your heart for His molding, it will help you stay focused on what really matters.
3. Spend time with Him. Don’t underestimate the value of taking a walk in His creation just listening to the chorus of creation singing His praise. Look around and see His handiwork, notice the details, the colors. The wonder and glory of the Creator of the universe is right outside.
4. Imagine Heaven. Take time to think about, study about the place you are going to get to be forever. Christ will return and set us free from our sinful nature no more temptation, no more guilt or regret. He will liberate us from the constrains of time. No more schedule, clocks or alarms. Now that is worth looking forward to!
Teach us how to live lives prepared to honor and glorify You. Teach us how to prepare ourselves each day for all of the moments you have providentially ordained for us to walk in. Thank You that You are faithful to walk with us. Thank You for the hope of Heaven. Thank You for the opportunities You grant to grow us and mold us. May we choose to live prepared by engaging our minds and hearts everyday.
By Your Grace, may it be so-
In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.