Ready to get ready

We’ve all heard the TV preachers run through their pep rally type calls for a commitment to Jesus Christ.  Are you ready to open your heart to Jesus?  Are you ready for the Lord to work miracles in your life?  Are you ready to embrace the love of Jesus?  Are you ready for the healing spirit of Christ in your life?  To each question, the congregation shouts out affirmations.  Why then doesn’t the Holy Spirit descend into each of them?  Why doesn’t the Holy Spirit descend into you while you eagerly watch on TV?

It can be a bit of a letdown for us when we reach out to the Lord and are met with silence.  Our hearts are not automatically filled with love and joy.  Our bodies are not cured of all their ills.  Our concerns and worries are not lifted from upon us.  We came.  We said we were ready.  God didn’t answer.  We turn away.

Anyone who has children knows that you can call out to them, “are you ready?” and you’ll get told they are but when you take a look, they’re not.  Why did you say you were ready when you don’t even have your shoes on?  Why did you say you’re ready when you can’t find your jacket?  The answers to those questions contain a variety of convoluted logic and excuses and explanations.  The point is that they weren’t really ready even though they basically thought they were when they answered.  Better stated, they were ready to start to get ready.

That’s how it often is for us.  Are you ready to surrender yourself to Jesus?  Are you ready to embrace God’s love?  Are you ready for Jesus to work miracles in your life?  You may say yes, but God knows the truth.  Sometimes we are really ready, but oftentimes we’re not.  We want to be ready.  We’re ready to get ready.  But, we’ve not really prepared our hearts for the Holy Spirit to dwell within them.

I truly wish accepting the Lord and receiving His grace in my life were as easy as just saying I’m ready.  If only a sprinkling of Holy Water on my body or an anointment of oil on my head would open some divine doorway in my heart to allow the Holy Spirit to flow into me and fill me with joy and comfort.  Wouldn’t that be great?

I attended a funeral once and the preacher said that the deceased lady had a personal relationship with Jesus.  He went on that anyone who had one too knew what that meant.  Then he said, “If you’re not sure if you have one, you don’t.”  That was the moment that I first learned that my knowledge of God and the Gospels didn’t really amount to anything.  I wasn’t sure if I had a personal relationship with Jesus and that meant I didn’t.  He was right.

It wasn’t until a few years later while I was sitting in church that the first awakening came to me.  The sermon wasn’t anything spectacular.  God just knew that I was ready.  I’d been going to church and thought I was ready for quite awhile and never really felt a relationship.  Now, here I was sitting on a pew listening to a fairly generic sermon on the parable of the two sons from Matthew 21 which concludes in Matthew 21:31, “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.”  All at once, I was struck by the immensity of God’s love through Jesus Christ.  Here Jesus said that these other sinners would get into the kingdom of God ahead of, not instead of, those questioning him.  Even those who crucified His only Son could enter into His kingdom.  That’s a level of grace, love and forgiveness beyond me.  God is so far beyond me.  Through that opening, that crack in my love of myself, the Holy Spirit filled me.  I finally understood what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

Don’t think that I’ve been walking around ever since with a feeling of love and grace upon me.  Don’t imagine that I’ve seen all the burdens of life lifted from my shoulders.  Don’t suppose that I’ve been cured of all my ills.  It doesn’t work like that. At least not for me as I am right now.  Maybe God is waiting for me to truly be ready for more.  I think I am, but God knows me better than I know myself.  I may never be truly ready to surrender myself until the day He calls me home.  Or, I could suddenly find myself once again filled with the grace of God and the love of Jesus Christ just a moment from now.  As they say, “The Lord only knows.”

Do not be disheartened if you are searching for God but haven’t found Him.  Do not be let down that your prayers seem to go unanswered.  Do not give up when you open your heart to Jesus and it continues to feel empty.  Do not despair.  As Jesus said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20).  Just as you would not take your child outside without shoes or jacket even when that child says “I’m ready” but you stand nearby with love until your child is ready, neither will the Lord take you when you’re not fully ready even when you say you are, but will be there with you waiting until you are.  God is not ignoring you.  God knows that, just like dragging out your child into the cold without shoes or jacket, more harm can be done than good by moving your spirit before it is ready.

This doesn’t mean that you should just sit and wait.  Your children’s shoes would remain off and the jackets remain lost if there wasn’t a push to get ready.  Being ready to begin getting ready is the first step.  That you are ready to seek God and are ready to begin to open your heart to God’s love and are ready to have the blessing of a personal relationship with Jesus are all wonderful things.  There are things you need to do in your own soul before you’re truly ready for the Holy Spirit to dwell within you.  Just as the child hadn’t yet realized the shoes were not on or the jacket was not found, we don’t yet realize what about ourselves needs to be readied before we can go walk with the Lord.

Reading God’s Word, doing all in your ability to live by His law, seeking Him through study and more importantly through fellowship with those who have received His grace, are all ways you can ready yourself to receive it yourself.  I can’t tell you when or how it will happen.  I still am working on it more for myself.  All I know for certain is that it will happen.  I have felt it and know that there is more to come.  I have reached the point at which I truly have faith.  Only God knows when I will be ready for more and when you’ll be ready.

 

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Published in: on March 2, 2017 at 12:14 PM  Leave a Comment  
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