Choosing Christ requires more than just a moment of welcome; it calls for a continual openness to Christ's presence in our lives. The last article in this series discussed embracing the Advent mindset, delving into what it means to welcome Christ into our lives. Now, we turn our focus to preparation - are we not only welcoming Christ but also making room for Him? Is there room amidst our daily routines, our ambitions, and our relationships for His transformative presence?
Examining Our Readiness:
Preparation as a Reaction to Expectation
When we truly expect Christ, our natural response should be to prepare. This isn't about perfection but about a genuine willingness to align our lives with His will. In the rhythm of our lives, it’s easy to go with the flow or adhere to what feels right without an honest examination of how we might be resisting God's transformative work.
Do our habits, thoughts, and actions create a space for God, or do they inadvertently crowd Him out? Are there areas of our lives where we hesitate to allow God's sanctifying work? Do we sometimes find ourselves holding back, clinging to ways and perspectives that are contrary to His teachings?
Let's see what the Bible has to say about making room for God.
Biblical Insights on Preparation:
Preparing the Way in Scripture
In Matthew 3:3, John the Baptist declares, "Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him." This call to preparation is a directive for both literal and metaphorical paths in our lives. It suggests a need for introspection and correction of our course — identifying and amending aspects of our lives that may be misaligned with His teachings. Similarly, Exodus 19:10-11 shows us God instructing the Israelites to consecrate themselves in anticipation of encountering Him.
These scriptures suggest that preparation is an act of reverence, a deliberate clearing of the spiritual ground to welcome God. They provide insights into the attitudes and actions that create a conducive environment for His presence and work. When we regularly show up in front of God's word, welcoming His transformation, it will, through His Spirit, continue to impress His likeness on us.
Practical Steps to Making Room for Him:
Inviting God into Our Daily Lives
If we had an appointment with God, how would we prepare? This thought should prompt us to examine our daily lives. Preparing for God involves creating space in our hearts and minds, setting aside time for prayer and meditation, seeking His guidance in our decisions, and aligning our actions with His teachings. Living in a way that continuously acknowledges His sovereignty and grace welcomes His Spirit.
Alignment with God’s Will: Regularly evaluate life choices and attitudes, ensuring they align with biblical teachings and God’s character. The Holy Spirit will help you with this. The more you study scripture, the more you will be able to discern His correction.
Repentance and Forgiveness: Actively seek forgiveness for wrongdoings and cultivate a forgiving heart towards others.
Sanctification and Purity: Distance yourself from harmful habits or influences. The enemy may try to convince you that this is the same as either condemning others or legalism. But, a desire for purity springs from an intimate relationship with God. Let Him be your why, and lean on His understanding for your how.
Engage in consistent spiritual disciplines like prayer, fasting, meditation, worship, and scripture study to foster a deeper connection with God.
Take advantage of opportunities for acts of kindness and service in your community.
Seek God's counsel through scripture, prayer, or fasting before major decisions or even small decisions that give you unrest
Consider creating a peaceful, prayerful space in your home
Focus on Transformation: Embrace the continuous process of spiritual transformation, welcoming the Holy Spirit’s work in reshaping our character and perspective.
By applying these insights, we can create an environment in our hearts and lives that is receptive and responsive to God's presence and guidance. It's about more than just external rituals; it's a holistic approach to living a life that continually seeks to embody the presence and principles of the Kingdom of God.
Renewing Our Commitment:
Cleaning House Spiritually
Periodically, we may need to 'clean house' spiritually – refreshing our minds, hearts, and commitments to God. Whether you are seeking God for specific guidance, preparing for a period of fasting, or simply looking to deepen your relationship with Him, this process of preparation is invaluable. It involves casting off what hinders us and embracing habits and practices that foster spiritual growth.
Fasting, as taught in Matthew 6:16-18, is a powerful means of spiritual cleansing and refocusing. It's a practice that not only clears the path but deepens our connection with God.
For a comprehensive guide on fasting, including different types, plans, and biblical references, visit here.
Be Encouraged, God is Already With You
If you pursue an intimate relationship with God, you will find the strength to soar above life's challenges. Closeness enables us to be more discerning of what belongs in our spiritual space and what doesn't. It gets easier to maintain a flame that doesn't need rekindling because it never goes out. In this state, preparing the way for Christ becomes less about major overhauls and more about fine-tuning our daily walk with Him. It's a practice that transforms our encounters, relationships, and endeavors, keeping us ready and receptive to His guidance and love.
I hope this article moves you to reflect on the ways you can make more room for Christ in your life. Ponder how your daily routines, interactions, and priorities can be adjusted to better welcome His presence.
Although this article was written at the year's end, it is for any moment when the need for reconnection with God arises. While starting the year with a fast is common and recommended, it is always the perfect time to take steps towards a renewed commitment to God, whether you're considering how to recommit your life to Him, seeking to make room for Him in a busy schedule, or just yearning for a deeper relationship with Him.
And as you do so, anticipate the transformation that comes from a life lived in close communion with God.
Our next article in this series will explore what to do while we wait on the Lord, embracing His timing and will in our lives.
Prayer to Make Room for God
Lord, I want more of you. My life is full of so much, but without you it's empty. A part of me feels like I know what I have to give up in order to make room for you, but another part of me feels like there just isn't enough time in a day. I know that's a lie. You are the day and the night. You are the sun, the moon, and the stars. You are purpose, and you are my portion. I want you, and I will have you. Show me how to prepare a space for you and please remove the things and people that I don't have the courage or wisdom to remove myself. May your Holy Spirit make room for the fullness of your glory in my life. Amen