Prepare the way for the Lord.
The word prepare means “to make ready” or “ to build.” As in to build a house and furnish it. It was used in reference to those who were about to commence on a journey. As such, they would begin to ponder the path before them. They would think through what supplies they would need and then they would begin “to pack up” and make ready for the trip.
This word means “way,” “path,” “road,” “route,” also “course,” “journey,” “march,” and figuratively means, “procedure,” “manner.” Life is often compared to a way, as in phrases that speak about the path of life or the manner of life.
John is out to the wilderness. People come to hear him. He invites people on a journey. They are currently traveling down the path of their own demise. They are given an alternative. Each person is challenged to “repent,” to begin to think differently about who they are, where they are headed and ultimately who they are following.
Change the trajectory of your journey – turn to God. And ultimately, follow the One who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
Christianity is more than a adhering to a prescribed set of beliefs or doctrines. It is a journey. As Eugene Peterson said, it is a long obedience in the same direction.
The operative word is long. It’s ongoing and progressive. As we journey with Christ, the paths of our life, the internal routes of our mindsets and heart-sets continually need to be made ready, renovated and refurnished. There are things, perhaps that we started this journey with that now need to be laid down. Baggage.
God, may I never reduce this journey you’ve called me on to a mere set of beliefs, duties or doctrines. May I never take on the mindset of one who has “arrived.” For, as Merton said, I shall always be a beginner. May I continue to walk with open hands and “backpack” before You. As I journey before and with You, may I with great courage lay down any and everything (the sin and the weight) that so easily entangles me.