Benjamin Franklin said it so well: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Preparation is a key to success in life and faith. It is also an important theme in Scripture. Preparation is the action or process of making something ready for use or service or of getting ready for some occasion, test, or duty. Think of the things you do each week: work, hobbies, relationships, activities. Most of them require some amount of planning and preparation. We prepare for the work day, a trip, a meal, severe weather, a wedding, and even church. The list is unending. There is even preparation before we go to sleep.
Those who would follow Christ must make preparations to live a life of faith. The Bible tells us that “Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). We shouldn’t make preparations for sin in our life. Just the opposite. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. The word for “provision” in the original language carries the idea of “thinking about what you will do in advance.” If we think about pleasing our flesh, we furnish the fuel to make it happen. It’s as though our thoughts gather the necessary provisions to move forward and act upon our sinful desires. We must not give any forethought or make any preparations as to how we can gratify our selfish desires.
Many characters in the Bible serve as example of people who took preparation seriously… Noah, Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist, and most of all Jesus. Jesus is the Lamb that was slain before the creation of the world (Rev. 13:8). God has been preparing His Kingdom since the creation of the world for those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Matthew 25:34). If God takes preparation so seriously, shouldn’t we? The wise men made preparations for a long journey, fully expecting to find the promised Messiah. They didn’t show up emptyhanded. They came ready to worship, bearing gifts to offer the Christ child. We too should prepare our heart to receive our King and worship Him!
To go deeper, take some time to answer the questions below:
What are some activities that you do every day or each week? What kind of preparation do you do for each? Do you agree with the quote by Benjamin Franklin about failing to prepare? Why is preparation a key to success in life and faith?
What is the result when we fail to properly prepare? What does it mean to “make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts?” How do you make preparations to gratify your selfish desires? What does the Bible say about this? How can we refuse to be tempted to vice and instead pursue virtue and character?
Which Bible characters serve as examples of the importance of preparation? In what ways does the Christmas story relate to this topic? How can we be ready to receive and worship Christ? What does “let every heart prepare Him room” mean? How can we prepare our heart for worship and service?
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Scriptures used in this teaching: Luke 12:35-39; John 1:6-14; Mark 1:1-3; Matthew 2:1-2, 10-11; Hebrews 11:8; Romans 13:12-14; Galatians 5:24; Colossians 3:1-2; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:8; Luke 14:28-33; Matthew 25:34; Revelation 13:8