Prepared: Properly expectant, organized, or equipped; ready; in fit condition for immediate use or action. When scripture tells us to be prepared, the idea is that of being both equipped and ready for immediate action. If you have ever had one of those games where you pull out one block after another, or perhaps attempt to lift an object out of a tiny space without setting off an alarm or seeing the tower of blocks tumble down, you know what being involved in the game entails. There is a sense of urgency - or even a sense of being a little "on the edge of your seat" - all because you want to be successful in your endeavor. Most of the time, preparation is made because we are planning for the inevitable. As much as we try, we cannot control all the things in this life of ours, but we can prepare in every way possible to be ready for what comes our way. When the bricks begin to tumble, or the alarms begin to sound, what we have done in preparation for those times makes all the difference.
Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. (Ephesians 6:13-18 MSG)
In terms of preparation for our daily walk with Christ, there are a number of things we are encouraged to do such as pray, read the Word, and even spend time with others in the faith. Yet, we often neglect these simple instructions because we get our focus a little diverted. If you are playing that brick stacking game, a little distraction can bring the whole tower of blocks tumbling down into your lap! So, heeding the instructions we are given might just mean the difference between "remaining in the game" and finding out we have "lost" something in the long run.
First - we are reminded we need help in this life. Try walking for any length of time alone and you will find that you come to the end of your resources quite rapidly. Having a companion along for the journey sometimes helps your resources go further simply because you now have "combined" resources. For some people, the word "help" is like a four-letter word - never to be uttered and something to be feared. To those folks I can only say this - you don't know how limited you are until you see how vast your resources become when you are finally in step with another!
Second - we have been given tools to help us along the journey, but tools are nothing more than "objects" we possess until we put them into use. Just before my knee surgery, my brother helped me erect my new workshop. It took me about two months to finally recuperate enough to move the tools from the nooks and crannies in the garage into my new workshop. It was a lot of work, but now I can finally see what I have at my disposal and don't have to dig around trying to remember where I stored that tool the last time I used it! The thing is, I like tools and I love to be able to make things or fix things with them. So, this was a long time coming, but I am greatly excited to finally have this space. Wouldn't it be a shame to have access to so much and then to just leave it all there just "looking good"?
Third - we are given much, but only appreciate and apprehend what we put into use in our lives. Truth is good - truth applied means we have the opportunity to see the impact it can make in our lives. Truth learned is different from truth we are merely exposed to. Once we stop messing around with just "reading about" what God wants to do in and through us, and finally take the first steps to "go about" what he wants to do, we see the difference!
Fourth - nothing good comes easy. We all know this - especially if we have ever tried to lose weight! Taking in all those goodies along the way puts on the extra pounds - losing those extra pounds takes a whole lot more effort. Yet, when we finally are determined to drop them, we find a great deal of satisfaction in doing so. In fact, most doctors will advise that even a ten pound loss can make a world of difference in your blood glucose, cholesterol, and even the pressure put on your skeletal system. In this walk with Christ, some of the "stuff" we hope to see in our lives requires some effort on our part, but remembering that nothing good comes easy makes the effort a little easier.
Lastly - we are to act as pace-setters in the lives of others. When another is down, we are to lift them up. When one is lagging behind, we are to encourage them to catch up. Why? Maybe the military's special forces say it best when they say no man will ever be left behind. We not only need each other to set the pace, but we sometimes just need the other person beside us to just help us to know we are okay in this journey. I have a very special friend who reminds me when I miss giving her a hug each day, or who will just sit silently as we drive along taking in the beauty of the countryside as we explore new places. What she may not realize is how often she speaks into my life without even one word - simply by being there with me in the journey.
Preparation takes a lot longer than we may want it to, but it is well worth the effort. Just sayin!