Preparation, as defined by Merriam-Webster's online dictionary:
the action or process of making something ready for use or service or of getting ready for some occasion, test, or duty a state of being prepared a preparatory act or measure something that is prepared specifically: a medicinal substance made ready for use
Synonyms or similar words, as listed by Merriam-Webster's online dictionary:
readiness, awareness, sensitivity, consciousness, mindfulness, preparedness, carefulness, watchfulness, receptivity, care, watch, receptiveness
On Monday last week, having the day off work, I found myself alone in my home for pretty much the entire day. And I was hungry, but not meaning in the literal, physical sense. My hunger was spiritual. In the quiet aloneness of the day in front of me, I was wanting more from the Spirit. More awareness of His indwelling presence. More receptivity to His voice. Just wanting more of Him.
Like so many Christians all throughout the world have been presently sensing and presently experiencing, I've been feeling a pressing internal sensitivity, a weighty internal knowing, that God's Holy Spirit is truly stirring up the waters within His people. He's wooing. And affirming. He's convicting. And restoring. He's enveloping. And healing. He's calling. And readjusting. And refocusing. And renewing.
He's preparing His bride, the Church—His body here on Earth.
In the latter part of last Monday morning, while doing some tasks in the kitchen, I was listening to the livestream of what's been labeled by many as "the Asbury Revival," and I found myself praying for the young people, praying they would be authentically and eternally impacted by this fresh saturation of the Holy Spirit. I found myself lifting them up—youth I do not know—to the Father, knowing that while the "revival" appears to have impacted more than just this young generation of college students at Asbury and other university campuses throughout the States, there's no question that it's been a move of God's Spirit, manifested on such a large scale, due to this Gen Z's deliberate choice to wholeheartedly and unashamedly seek Him in a country and culture where mockery and intolerance of authentic Christianity is commonplace and where so many young people reared in Christian churches are walking away from a lifestyle and identity that's rooted in faith in Jesus Christ.
So, as I was cleaning and praying and listening last Monday, very suddenly, very clearly, the word preparation came to my mind, and I sensed it was from the Lord's Spirit. "Lord," I uttered out loud, "You are preparing this generation."
Since last Monday, I've been considering all of this, as well as giving thought to Darin's and my recent decision to open our home for eight weeks to five couples (ranging in ages from early thirties to mid-sixties) to eat, fellowship, and study a book together, titled Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit, authored by Francis Chan.
The first Tuesday evening when we gathered together, this small group all consisted of complete strangers (except one friend), to us and to one another; even so, we united under the umbrella of our common connection as believers in Christ, as well as a desire to go deeper in our relationship with the third person of the Trinity, the indwelling Holy Spirit.
I can't help but wonder in what ways and for what purposes the Spirit is doing a preparatory work in each of us, as well.
Throughout Scripture, both Old and New Testaments give accounts of the preparatory activity of the Most High within our circumstances, prior to the inauguration of Kingdom missions: Joseph unjustly spent years as a slave. God was uniquely preparing him. Moses spent years—forty to be exact—in Midian. God was uniquely preparing him. Joshua spent years under Moses' leadership. God was uniquely preparing him. David spent years herding sheep and then, spent years on the run from Saul. God was uniquely preparing him. The Twelve spent three years in up-close, daily intimacy with Christ as they followed Him. God was uniquely preparing them. Paul spent three years in Arabia receiving revelation. God was uniquely preparing him. Timothy spent years mentoring under the Apostle Paul. God was uniquely preparing him too.
Even Jesus, led by the Spirit, spent forty days fasting in the wilderness, followed by Satan's successive temptations, right before the onset of His public ministry. Enveloped in a body of flesh, though still fully God, the Father was uniquely preparing His Son to overcome and conquer Satan on a scale that humanity had never witnessed before, or since.
Because Jesus was more consumed with operating by eternal truth instead of temporary earthly gain; because He was completely submissive to the voice and will of the Father, as He lived and served in unadulterated oneness with Him; because He was fully engulfed in the purpose of showcasing God's glory; and because He was willing to lay down His life for the cause of the Kingdom mission, Satan was defeated, sin was conquered, and the grave's power was laid to rest.
Christ's example, as well as the example of many others throughout the Word, teach us that God prepares His earthly vessels for heavenly service. It's how He begins to shift us toward His purposes and to point us in the direction of His specific will. So often, He uses the present circumstances we find ourselves in, along with previous life and spiritual experiences, combined with the Biblical truth the Lord is presently revealing to us—if we're intentionally seeking, abiding and listening—to begin transitioning us toward a Kingdom-driven mission that He desires to accomplish in and through us. He knows that we must first be in a Kingdom mindset in order to successfully carry out His will in His way, and so often, it's the preparation He sovereignly allows and the preparation He sovereignly orchestrates that accomplish this.
Again, that is, if we're intentionally seeking, intentionally abiding, intentionally listening.
Fellow sojourner, I don't know if the words I'm typing right now are in agreement with what you've already been sensing in your spirit, or if something I've communicated is stirring up some spiritual rumblings within you. If so, then join with me in genuinely praying for this young generation upon whom this outpouring of the Spirit appears to be saturating.
Pray that the Spirit's present work will continue to spread like engulfing floodwaters and consuming fire. Pray that the results of this present consumption of Jesus and His Spirit would not quickly dissipate but keep expanding and usher thousands, if not thousands upon thousands, of lost souls into God's eternal kingdom. Pray that in whatever ways the Spirit is preparing this generation of hungry, thirsty seekers, that God will ultimately use the whole of their existence upon Earth thus far, along with the Word's empowering truth and the Spirit's abiding presence, to manifest His grace and glory in such a way that is reflective of what we see throughout the book of Acts: repentance, salvation, transformation, and a manifestation of the works and unity of the Spirit, for the purpose of edifying and strengthening the body of Christ and spreading the good news of the Gospel, wherever and to whomever the Spirit leads.
And let's pray for ourselves as well. Let's pray that we'll be humble and broken before the Lord. Let's pray that we'll be repentant where repentance needs to occur. Let's pray that we'll be tired of any areas in our lives where excusing and complacency have been permitted. Let's pray that we'll be hungry and thirsty and open to the indwelling Spirit's call and the indwelling Spirit's leading. Let's pray that we'll be available. For the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Savior who died and rose again.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:8
One final thought:
When I looked up the word preparation online, I couldn't help but notice the antonyms that were listed right below the list of synonyms. Taking into consideration a word's opposites is very beneficial to more fully grasping the word's meaning. For the word preparation, Merriam Webster's lists these words as the antonyms that are most relevant:
unpreparedness, unreadiness, carelessness, inattention, negligence, remissness, inattentiveness, heedlessness, distraction
Dear sojourner, may these not be our Lord's descriptions of you, and may they not be His descriptions of me, as we wait for His return.