John the Baptist came to “prepare the way for the Lord” in his generation. I, too, would like to prepare the way for the Lord. I want to prepare the way for God to work powerfully in my life. And I want to help prepare the way for the Holy Spirit to work mightily in my generation and the generations behind me. How about you?
So how do you prepare the way for the Lord?
1) Get out of God’s way. “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” John the Baptist put it this way: “I must decrease and He must increase.” Give up your pride. Give up your will. Quit your sin. Fully surrender your hopes and dreams, plans and agendas to Him.
Paul of Tarsus said “I day daily.” Jesus said: “Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.” To quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
2) Create a level playing field. When we come to Christ we are all equal. There is no hierarchy in God’s church–no clergy/laity in the Bible. After God tells us to “Prepare the way of the Lord,” we are told this: “Every valley shall be raised up and every mountain and hill made low, the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed.” (Isaiah 40:4-5)
God moves mightily on a level playing field, but not in the midst of pride and privilege. Hierarchy gets in the way of the Holy Spirit’s working. It quenches the Spirit. But remove hierarchy (what Jesus calls “lording it over“) by allowing every member of His body to show and tell what God is doing for them, and the Holy Spirit begins to bring forth the glory of God.
To do this, the mountains (people who tend to run and direct things by asserting their agendas) need to be made low and the valleys (people who tend to passively sit back and watch) need to be raised up. Then God’s glory suddenly shows up.
This isn’t just a Scripture. It works (as the Bible does when we obey it). After years of overseeing participatory worship gatherings and participatory Bible Studies, I have noticed that there are usually a few people who do most of the talking and a lot of people who mainly listen. I have found that when the talkers are lovingly taught to back off a bit and the listeners are allowed and encouraged to speak out more, an amazing thing happens. The glory of God comes into the room and some of the least likely people say and do amazing things.
If you have never experienced this, come and see it for yourself at The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry Street, Nashville, TN 37207 on Sundays @ 10:45 am & Thursdays @ 6:30 pm. You’ll be glad you did!