“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning …” (Luke 12:35, ESV).
In my last post, I wrote about the need to live with intention and purpose. As Christ-followers, we are not to be drifters. We’re not the ball in a pinball machine, bouncing indiscriminately off bumpers and falling victim to circumstances.
How do we “stay dressed for action” and “keep our lamps burning”?
Spiritual preparation takes time. Too often, we’re looking for the shortcut. What are the three steps that will get me out of this mess? What prayer will unlock this logjam? In order to get dressed, you must first take the time to pick out what you’re going to wear. And even before that, you must first go shopping.
The journey towards spiritual maturity takes a lifetime. In other words, we are always en route to growth and maturity.
Spiritual preparation also takes discipline. In ancient days, lamps didn’t take care of themselves. Someone had to make sure the lamps had enough fuel. This often meant getting up when it was inconvenient to do so — lamps weren’t needed in the daytime.
“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8).
Training is not always convenient. It may require me getting up a few minutes early or putting down the fork when I’d still like to keep going. I need to train myself to be godly because being godly is not my natural inclination.
Simply put, it takes discipline to replace bad habits with healthy ones.
Spiritual preparation requires action. Our spiritual growth is a partnership between the Holy Spirit and our choices. The Holy Spirit produces his fruit in our lives (cf., Galatians 5:22-23) but only if we are willing to prepare the soil and pull a few weeds.
To stay dressed implies that we are dressed. Clothes don’t magically make their way onto our bodies; we put them on. We look in the closet and must decide to clothe ourselves with the qualities that God desires for us.
Time + Discipline + Action = Being Ready