"Glen, proper preparation prevents poor performance!" The words still ring in my ears nearly 40 years later, and still rankle.
As a young man, I worked for a bank in which I had two primary responsibilities. One day I was called from one of the tasks to the other, with little time for the aforementioned "proper preparation." Things went poorly as a result, and my supervisor saw fit for the brief lecture I mentioned. I'd be less than honest if I didn't admit that I wanted to punch him in the nose! He hadn't given me adequate time or opportunity to prepare, but nevertheless thought I should have been ready to perform much better than I did. Again, the words still echo uncomfortably in my mind, but in recent years I've realized that the truth my boss expressed is a good adage to embrace. Certainly we must prepare, and as Coach Nick Saban of the University of Alabama frequently intones, "If we fail to plan, we plan to fail."
"Prepare to meet thy God" (Amos 4:12). Long ago, the Lord called His people Israel to be ready for direct encounter with Himself. The message applies to all. God made us, we belong to Him, and whether we know His saving grace or not, we will one day face Him directly. The new birth through faith in Lord Jesus Christ prepares to be graciously received as a beloved son or daughter. Thereby God saves us from "the wrath to come" (I Thessalonians 1:10). Walking by faith in submission to God, as enabled by the indwelling Holy Spirit, prepares us as redeemed believers to face our Heavenly Father at the judgment seat of Christ. There the works of Christians will be evaluated, leading to either reward or loss (I Corinthians 3:13-15).
We do not know the time when such judgment will occur. However, we do know the today in which we presently live. Are we prepared as believers to face the blessings and challenges that will come our way? Have we readied our hearts in response to the Holy Spirit's working therein? What does it mean to do so? Have we consciously sought the Lord's leadership, enabling, and provision for this day, even as the Lord Jesus commanded that we pray for our "daily bread"? (Matthew 6:11). Proper spiritual preparation requires that we do so. We walk in relationship and fellowship with God as His sons and daughters. By definition, such a bond requires communication. Thus, we do well to begin our days accordingly. A reading of Scripture and prayerful response of loving faith and commitment go far in setting our hearts aright for the day that faces us. Great amounts of time are not required because our preparation involves seeking the power of God rather than merely disciplining ourselves to do our best. But we do need to seek, and prayerful preparation in the Scriptures readies us to meet our God along the pathways where He awaits us in this day.
If I ever run into that supervisor again, I will yet again refrain from punching him in the nose! :) I'll rather remind him and and thank him for his wise words from so long ago (and I won't bring up the context in which he said them!). Proper preparation prevents poor performance. This is true in every aspect of life, and especially in our fellowship with the Life of our lives. Yes indeed, let us "prepare to meet thy God."
"The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD."
Weekly Memory Verse
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True.