The wise took flasks of Oil with their lamps.
-- Matthew 25:4
There are many ways to prepare and many things to prepare. You should see it as any project that you undertake. Brainstorm all the things to be done and then put them in priority order. Secondly, we could attach urgency to each item. For example, if we have a list with three items:
- Gather firewood
- Buy water
- Buy food
In this list, the most important and most urgent would be the water. The second would be the food, and finally, the firewood could be thought about.
In our preparedness journey, there is a much bigger list and a longer timeframe. We don't know when and how each incident will develop. A banking crash can happen seemingly instantly, the day you cannot withdraw your cash. But in reality, it was a long time in coming, we simply needed to heed the signs.
Now let me suggest to you that the most important preparation you can make is your spiritual preparation. Trying to prepare yourself spiritually during the time when you need it the most is too little too late. Prepare in advance.
In the Bible, Jesus explains that when he returns the world will be in turmoil and at war. In the book of Matthew chapter 25, he refers to himself as the bridegroom. And there are 10 girls in the bridal entourage who are to bring lamps along. Except 5 girls had prepared with the necessary oil for their oil lamp, and 5 girls were unprepared. The 5 who were unprepared were not permitted to join the wedding party with Jesus and he said to them:
Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.
This parable ends with a warning:
Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
So there is the exhortation, watch. Keep your eyes open. Be ready.
Let me be upfront about this, I'm not suggesting that this passage implies anything about physical preparedness. But I do believe we can learn a lesson about physical preparedness here.
Rather this passage is all to do with spiritual preparedness. The truly disheartening response from Jesus that he does not even know them, explains the problem. There is only one problem here; that five of the girls do not know Jesus.
When Jesus returns and the party begins, what will Jesus say to you?
Let me also be clear on this point, I'm not suggesting that we are to expect the imminent return of Jesus (within the next decade at least), or that we're entering a period of trouble that the Bible calls The Great Tribulation.
I believe there are still too many prophecies to be fulfilled. In particular, I expect to see the third Temple built in Jerusalem and the re-establishment of the ceremonial sacrifices.
The times we're living in now is what I believe Jesus refers to as the beginning of birth pains. As anyone who has had children knows, the pains can come and go throughout the pregnancy but as the time for delivery comes, the pains get gradually stronger and come more frequently. Maybe the time now is a phase of intense pain that will subside again for a long period, or maybe it is the start of increasingly frequent pain.
Watch not just what the Governments of the world are doing, but what is happening in the skies and with natural disasters. These can come as warnings and wake up calls, but they also form part of the pattern of increasing birth pains.
How to prepare spiritually
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, and you will be saved.
The primary way to ensure that you are prepared spiritually is to get your confession straight and to get your belief straight.
What do you believe about the resurrection? That is a pivotal part of your preparation.
Are you ready to openly confess that Jesus is Lord? That is the second part.
Sometimes a confession comes before a belief. I mean, it can help to tell yourself something, even if you cannot see it yet with your eyes, or your experience. So-called business mentors understand this principle. It's like setting a goal in front of you and regularly reminding yourself of the goal - you are infinitely more likely to reach your goal than those who do not have one! But more than that, you are telling your spirit and your mind "this is who you are".
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
For as a he thinketh in his heart, so is he.
When you want something, try asking for it. You want to believe, but you cannot yet believe. Then offer a sincere prayer to God. "God, I am not yet ready to believe but I want to believe, please help me".
Put your belief into practice
I will show you my faith by my works.
Start each day with 5 minutes of prayer, and end each day with 5 minutes of prayer. 5 minutes doesn't sound like a lot, but for many people, it is more than they are doing currently. Start with small steps, and work up to more as you gain confidence.
Try to find a like-minded person, for many this might be your spouse or partner. Explain to them what you are doing and why and this will help to keep you on track. Either they will be supportive and that can help, or they will be the opposite, in which case, I hope that it will double your resolve to persevere. This will likely be the first test of many.
If you have made it this far and you have made a decision to start your spiritual journey, or if you're not yet ready but are continuing to make progress, then please consider subscribing to this blog and I'll drop you a line whenever I post something new. Reply to that email and let me know your questions or concerns, it will come directly to me.