Sunday, March 7, 2010

Prepare to Meet Your God

by Susanne Dietze

Prepare to meet your God, O Israel. Amos 4:12

It’s that semi-annual time at our house: the kids get out of school early, but they aren’t happy about it. They come home for a short juice break, and then they head into the bathroom, bracing themselves for my twice-a-year speech: “Be sure to use enough toothpaste! Great job brushing! No, it hasn’t been two full minutes: the timer hasn't gone off yet. Are you flossing?”
Putting toothpaste on a toothbrush. The toothp...Image via Wikipedia

And then we head out to the dentist for their cleaning appointments.

Granted, I remind them every day with all sweetness (ok, some might describe it as "nagging") about regular brushing and flossing. (In my head, I silently add, “because cavities are expensive!”). And of course, the dentist does ask that we patients brush our teeth right before our examinations. But I suspect that the dentist knows as well as I do that the kids (and I, for that matter) show up to his office bestowing a smile full of pearly teeth that don’t receive the same stellar treatment on a daily basis.

No matter how well we’ve brushed and flossed in that half-hour before we go to the dentist, it’s obvious to the professionals if we’ve neglected our teeth throughout the year. Plaque, cavities and other evidence will reveal our habits on sight. X-rays show how deep the damage really lies. One look from the dentist, and we receive either praise or the dreaded news that we need to make a follow-up appointment. The bottom line is, preparation for the semi-annual dental visit is not a last minute thing. It’s a daily commitment.

I think the same thing is true with our spiritual lives. We know we should do certain things to cultivate our relationship with God and live how He wills, but too many other things compete for our attention. If I’m in too big of a hurry to floss my teeth, where will I find the time to devote to daily prayer? When could I possibly commit to Bible study, when I’m just too busy?

What about other detractors? Many of us live in bondage to a particular sin, but can't break free, no matter how hard or long we've tried. Others might be too in love with a sin to it to lay it at God’s feet...not yet, anyway. Maybe we’re in need of reconciliation, but we really don’t want to forgive that person who hurt us. Share the Gospel with the mean neighbor who growls at my kids and dumps his trash in my can? Maybe later. It’s not like any of us are dying anytime soon.

How often do we put off something we know to be God’s will until a more convenient, less painful or far-distant time? Like the dentist’s X-ray, God sees the concealed contents of our hearts, and there’s no hiding what we’ve put off dealing with.

I’m not saying there’s no “last minute scrubbing” that will polish us up: the blood of Jesus washes us whiter than snow, pure and spotless. It doesn’t matter whether we come to the harvest early or late; God’s saving grace is offered to all who receive it.

But the Bible reminds us to live as people who are prepared to meet our Maker: by this I don't just mean the day when we literally see God face to face, but I'm also referring to the way we live, embracing the urgency in which He's called us to spread His Word, serve others, and live in love, before it's too late.
The passage from Amos about meeting God isn’t a comforting one. The Israelites had rebelled against God and were about to be taken into captivity by the Assyrians. Even so, if they repented, God would show them mercy (and He never abandons His people). The passage continues, urging the Israelites to take some strong actions of preparation: to listen, to seek God and not idols, to maintain justice, to love good, to not be complacent.

The New Testament also shows us ways to be prepared. Therefore, prepare your minds for action, launches quite an exhortation of things to do and not do (1 Peter 1:13). 2 Timothy 4:2 says, Preach the Word; be prepared in and out of season, reminding us to be ready to share what God has done for us and what He offers the world. In Ephesians 4:26, Paul urges us to not let the sun set without dealing with our anger; there is urgency in not allowing sin to take root in our lives.

These are just a few verses which give instruction for ways to prepare for meeting our Maker. Indeed, the lists of behaviors we’re supposed to show as Christians is hefty. Being kind, compassionate, and encouraging takes spiritual sweat. Freedom from bitterness and anger and the love of gossip is not a one-step job. But God is big enough to help us tackle these things, if we’re serious about serving Him, wanting Him enough to seek Him, knowing that if we give Him our hearts, He produces the fruit of His life in us.

Which takes me back to the dentist. I want my kids to have good teeth, not just a good check up. That takes preparation on their parts, healthy habits and commitment. The same is true with our spiritual health. My prayer is that we seriously consider our preparation, that we view our work for the kingdom as a daily commitment, just like brushing our teeth. That we deal with our issues and get busy.


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  1. I LOVE it, Suzi, when the first comment of the day slot falls on ME!!!

    What a poignant post that can be applied to daily meetings, Bible study, and weekly meetings, like my Grace church--right now!!!!!

    Have a blessed "meeting day"!!!

  2. I really appreciated this today.
    Thanks Susie!

  3. Good morning! Sorry I'm so late checking in, but I had a lot going on at church this morning. Thanks for visiting.

    Patti, you're right about applying this principle to so many aspects of our lives. I was convicted while working on this post: I fail to keep up good maintenance in several areas of my life. With God's help I'll do better at balancing.

  4. Wow, great thought, Susie. You hit me right where I live!

  5. Thank you, Susie.

    I think preparing for God daily is like our writing in a small way. We must SHOW others by the way we live our lives that God is good. That God is the Truth, the Way and the Life, rather then TELL them (or preach at them). It's so easy to get lost in business. I think Satan loves it that we are all so busy.

    So I pray that we will stop in our business long enough to remember the importance of the ONE who loves us unconditionally.

  6. Hi Lisa! You and me both. I have cut so much from my schedule and still feel like I give the Lord, my family, and my own spiritual health the short end of an already short stick.

    Jill, excellent point. Our action do speak louder than any words we preach. We do get lost in busyness and need to remember that God is waiting patiently for us to remember He's there.


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