I pray each of you are enjoying a wonderful summer filled with family, friends, a deepening faith and preparing for a wonderful 4th of July celebration. When we think about a quality life of strong relationships with God, family, friends and others we quickly realize that quality relationships do not happen by accident, they require investment of time and intentionality. Like any worthwhile endeavor, preparation is a critical part of the journey and is why we have selected “The Importance of Preparation” as the C3 theme for July.
Preparation is Necessary
Whether we are seeking to excel in sports, career, faith, relationships, hobbies, etc. preparation is a necessary component in our success. Zig Ziglar once said, “Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation,” and many times the preparation can come through planning and self-discipline, or through adversity, which many call “the school of hard knocks.” Both can help us to mature and prepare us for life’s challenges.
Jesus is a great example of preparation through planning and self-discipline to pursue His Father’s will, even when it was difficult. One of the few passages in the Bible that describes His growth as a young man is found in Luke 2:52, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” I appreciate this verse because it reflects a healthy growth pattern of physical, mental, spiritual, and relational health. Growth in these areas is not a passive pursuit, but one that requires discipline. The Apostle Paul also supports the need for preparation in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
Much of my personal growth has been through planning and self-discipline, but some has also been through adversity. I used to pride myself in being a graduate of HKU (Hard Knocks University); but the older I get, the more I realize this is a difficult and painful way to get an education. I remember when I first started to read and study the Bible I would read James 1:2 and think this guy is crazy considering trials something to be joyful about. The passage states, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” However, as we continue in verses 3-5, we gain an understanding of the value of adversity as a preparation tool, “because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” However, when the trials come and we are prepared, they help us to grow and mature into the person we were created to be and that brings joy.
Purification for Preparation
In recent years I have grown to appreciate the festivals outlined in the Bible along with their timing and significance. This past February it seemed that everything that I read or listened to had something to do with purification. I was drawn to the story of Queen Esther found in the book of Esther and how she was used by God to save the Jewish population. She purified and prepared herself before she went before the King to expose the plot of Haman to eradicate the Jews. This holiday is called Purim and was celebrated on February 28th -March 1st of this year. This holiday had never been on my radar so one morning in my quiet time I began to ask why Purim was so important for me during this season. As I sought the Lord, I sensed the words, purification for preparation.
This created an excitement within me since I had sensed I had been in a preparation process for many years and our Heavenly Father was now showing me the significance of purification in the preparation process. Along our journey of sanctification, we have accumulated baggage that needs to be removed to purify and prepare us for the work He has prepared for us. If we do not embrace the purification process and remove many of the strongholds, idols, or wrong thinking that may be revealed to us, we can miss many of the great works He has planned for us. We must release this excess baggage, so we can be free to align with His good, pleasing and perfect will for each of us.
When we realize the importance of preparation and the significance of purification we can embrace the process as outlined by the Apostle Paul so eloquently in Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
This process begins with submission to our Heavenly Father, purification as we release the patterns of the world we have accumulated and being transformed through the renewal of our minds by the application of the Word in our lives. Then we can walk in alignment with His good, pleasing and perfect will and receive the many rewards He has prepared for us.
The Many Rewards
The good news is that no matter how many bad decisions we have made or where we are on the journey, our Heavenly Father can use the good, the bad and the ugly for our good and His glory. The Apostle Paul states this in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” So join me today as we allow God to prepare and purify us to do the great work He has prepared for us as we transform our communities for His glory and our good.
Jamie Jordan is the State Director for the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3). His passion is to see unity and excellence exhibited within the Christian community. Jamie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get more information and join the North Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (NC-C3) movement, go to www.nc-c3.org and become a member today!