The Restored Orchard

Prepare the Way – Advent Week 1

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.

Matthew 3:1-3 NIV

There is no greater rush than the feeling you get when someone shows up at your doorstep unexpectedly. Suddenly, you start to assess your current state of living. Looking at items out of place. Hurriedly, organizing or hiding items that are out of place. Or perhaps you prefer to leave everything as is. Allowing your guests to see you in your natural state… Whichever your preference, both are natural responses to the unexpected arrival of a visitor.

If your guest had called ahead and let you know the specific details of their arrival, I am certain arrangements would have been made. If nothing else, awareness of the closeness of arrival would change how you organize your day.

Much like the preparation that takes place for those we welcome into our homes, John the Baptist prepared the way for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ’s arrival.

The gospel provides a glimpse of God’s intricate plan for our redemption through the birth of Jesus. In Matthew, we see the story of Jesus’ birth and how it’s intertwined with the birth of John the Baptist. Before their mothers, Mary and Elizabeth, made physical preparations for their earthly arrival, God was setting the groundwork for John the Baptist to lead others to repentance before the Messiah’s first coming.

Repentance is a shift in not only one’s attitude but one’s actions. When changing from a life of sin to a life of obedience to God, John the Baptist taught that there should be visible fruit (Luke 3:8). The actions of a Believer should serve as evidence that the Holy Spirit is at work. What do your actions show? Are you living a fruitful life? What kinds of good fruit are you producing?

Each day, we have a choice. We can choose to repent and abandon our sins in anticipation of Jesus’ return. Or we can continue to live out our days unprepared for when judgment finally arrives at our door. I want to be prepared when Jesus arrives. I want to have looked around and assessed the state of my life. I want to ensure that I have addressed the messy areas and lived in such a way to produce the visible fruit of a repentant life. What about you?

As we reflect during this Advent season, we have the perfect opportunity to slow down and reflect on our current state. In light of God’s grace, we can choose to LIVE our lives such that they point others to Christ. In each and every day, we can prepare the way…

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