AnticipationDec 27, 2021
Anticipation, so the song goes, is "makin' me late, is keepin' me waitin'"... and after the anticipation of the excitement and celebration of Christmas, the let-down that I was not anticipatin' wants to rear its ugly head. Peace on earth is no longer the refrain; instead I am back to the hustle and bustle of the "real world" and I'm not sure I'm ready!! I hear in my brain the voice of Miranda Priestly (played by Meryl Streep) in The Devil Wears Prada, "Why is no one reaaaady?"
In the "real world," however, a very real God is still at work. It's up to me to anticipate being a part of that glorious, challenging, difficult, exhilarating adventure that is following Jesus. And as I stare down the on-coming new year (or new day/week/month), there are things I can do to prepare for it!
Prepare my heart
Proverbs reminds me "As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man" (27:19 NIV). It's easy in culture to harden my heart -- to do to others before they have done to me or to repay in kind when I'm slighted (real or imaginary). But Jesus had another philosophy. "The good person brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil person brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him." (Matthew 12:35 NIV). I need to prepare my heart by planting and storing good things in it, so that out of that abundance, good things will sprout and grow.
Prepare my mind
"Do not conform," says the apostle Paul, "...to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2 NIV). He later writes to the church as Colosse to "set your heart" and "set your mind" (Colossians 3:1-2 NIV) so that we "...have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator" (3:9b-10 NIV). I like how the MSG version states it in verse 10:
"Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete."
I must think differently if I want different results!
Prepare my Body
Adventures require stamina. Scripture doesn't neglect preparing my physical self for the glory of the spiritual. I am a whole person, not just a spirit or a mind or a body and my body needs to be in its best state to be who God created me to be.
Ouch! Right!?! The apostle Paul wrote, "Present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice..." (Romans 12:1 NASB). In the sacrificial system of his culture, the body of the animal given at the temple was in prime condition, without "spot or blemish," the best of the best. I imagine the lamb being prepared with the healthiest food, exercise and rest.
Hmmmm. I'm not ready! "Why is no one reeeaaaady!?!" It's my responsibility to prepare my body for the adventure awaiting me.
Harriet Martineau, considered the first female sociologist and who wrote from a sociological, holistic, religious and feminine angle, said, "You had better live your best and act your best and think your best today; for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow."
No more anticipation. No more waiting.
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