We prepare for many things every day. We take care of our bodies through preparation usually known as preparing or “getting ready for work” in the morning, or through preparations known as “getting ready for bed” in the evening. Throughout the day whether at home, school, or work we are constantly prepping. Prepping at home could involve things like cooking, cleaning, various DIY projects, and so on. At school constant preparation is needed to be ready for the next day’s exercises and activities. The same applies to work. Not a single day goes by where we do not prepare for something in some fashion.
Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines “prepare” in the following manner:
Definition of prepare:
a: to make ready beforehand for some purpose, use, or activity;
b: to put in a proper state of mind;
a: to work out the details of or plan in advance; and
a: to put together
If we fail to prepare, our success will be greatly diminished.
Colin Powell, former United States Secretary of State and retired four star general said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott relayed a sentiment many superb athletes have expressed about ability to perform under intense pressure. The quote (paraphrasing) is: “I don’t feel pressure because I believe I am fully prepared. It is lack of preparation that creates anxiety.”
A saying attributed to Abraham Lincoln quotes him as saying, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.” The saying may be more folklore or tradition than words directly from the mouth of our sixteenth President, but the principle nevertheless remains.
As Christians, we are instructed by God’s Word to be prepared, not only in the physical sense of daily activities, but also in the spiritual realm. Both influence each other.
Paul, in his instruction as an elder follower of Christ wrote to Timothy – whom he referred to affectionately as his “son-in-the-faith” – admonishing him to “do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV).
Being presentable as we know it in terms of attending an event or going out in public takes preparation. And as it is with the physical, so it is with the spiritual.
The apostle Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:13 (ESV) “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
There are many other examples in the Scriptures instructing us to be prepared. Jesus himself told us to be prepared to fully follow him wholeheartedly in the account in Luke 14:28-30 where he expounded on considerations of the cost of discipleship to his followers. Jesus explained in practical terms how laughable it would be to begin a building project without preparing an estimate of the building costs. No one would begin to build a tower without first sitting down to figure out how much it would cost, Jesus said. If a person did this, and ran out of money halfway through the project, people would pass by and mock joking to each other about how the person did not have enough foresight to count the costs of building the tower prior to building.
In fact, the whole principle of eternal life is founded upon the concept of preparation, i.e., we must confess our sins and accept the gift of Christ’s blood which was shed on the cross. Subsequently, we must also live a life that brings glory to God and points others to Christ. The Bible even compares our time and service on this earth to how those about to be married eagerly prepare for each other in anticipation and expectation of their upcoming wedding.
1 Peter 3:15 (ESV) says:
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
This is a clear instruction to be ready at all times to be able to explain to anyone who might ask or challenge your biblical beliefs or why you do what you do. Explaining our beliefs is not to be done in a condescending, short, or provocative way, but with gentleness and respect. We are instructed to speak the truth, but to do so with love (Ephesians 4:15) and grace (John 1:14).
This cannot be done without spending time in daily prayer and in study of God’s Word. It requires a familiarity and appreciation of Scripture. A Christian’s beliefs stem from biblical theology, and it is important that Christians are able to accurately and concisely articulate what they believe and why they believe it. A Christian worldview of ethics, sexuality, morality and immorality, marriage, family, education, etc. are all based on biblical principles. In fact, while the Bible certainly does not address a plethora of issues explicitly, there are biblical principles that can be applied to all life situations. As such, it is your primary duty to immerse yourself in God’s Word.
Having beliefs that align with the Bible is not sufficient, if you don’t know where in the Bible the beliefs stems from. It’s contradictory, irresponsible, and even dangerous to anchor yourself to a belief if you are not sure of the basis of said belief. Human sexuality, marriage, family, and education are all vital issues that Christians should be biblically informed upon. Christ’s sacrifice merits your being a prepared Christian. You owe it to yourself and others to be a prepared Christian. The world deserves – no, needs – more prepared Christians, and less unprepared pragmatic versions of robotic Christianity.