3 This is the voice of one who calls out:“Prepare in the desert the way for the Lord.
Make a straight road in the dry lands for our God.
4 Every valley should be raised up, and every mountain and hill should be made flat. The rough ground should be made level, and the rugged ground should be made smooth.
5 Then the glory of the Lord will be shown, and all people together will see it. The Lord himself said these things.” — Isaiah 40:3-5 NCV
John the Baptist was chosen to be the “voice in the wilderness” calling out “prepare in the desert the way of the Lord”. John was the son of Zechairah, a priest who was chosen by lot to offer sacrifices at this particular time and Elizabeth, his wife, who was a cousin of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. To fulfill this prophecy, when John became an adult, he actually lived in the desert. He wore rough clothing and his diet consisted of locust and honey. God has not called all of us to subsist as John did. However, He has called all of us to “prepare in the desert the way for the Lord”. While John lived in an actual, natural, physical desert, we live in a spiritual desert which we call the world. John could only preach about repentance from sin and being baptized with water since the Holy Spirit had not yet been sent to stay on earth. He preached about the One coming that would change all of that, The One who could baptize with the Holy Spirit. Our message is that Jesus has come and that we must accept that truth along with the truth that He died for us so that we could be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Our message is that “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord”. Whether you will do that or not is not a choice, you will do it. The choice is when will you do it? You can do it now and spend an eternity with Jesus in heaven or you can wait until the “the glory of the Lord is shown” and all the people still alive see it. But, if you wait until then, it will be too late and your eternity will be spent in hell, a place prepared for satan and his demons. Each day as we go about in this spiritual desert, are we daily calling out to others that “Jesus is coming back again, get ready by accepting Him as your Savior, let Him make your paths straight and your pathway smooth”
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened
and has heard my prayer.
20 Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me! — Psalm 66:16-20 NIV
There are thousands of books written in an attempt to make us feel better about ourselves. Do this and get rich, do this and influence people, do this and look better. Money, power and good looks do not come with bags of joy that can be opened at any time we need to feel good. All of these things are external and have nothing to do with the real problems of today.
The changes we need are from the inside out. It isn’t our natural diet that makes us who we are, contrary to what we have been told, we are not what we eat. The diet that determines whether we will be full of peace and joy is our Spiritual diet. Be filled with the Holy Spirit! The third person of the Trinity really is a person. He abides inside us to give us all the peace, joy and hope we need or desire. He knows our every need and is waiting patiently to give it to each of us. He weeps with us and when our hearts are broken, so is His. He feels the pain that we feel and He wants to restore our joy and hope when we are down and out. We need to learn to praise God and tell others what He has done for us. While we are praising Him, we will find that our joy will start to flow out from us to those around us. Praise and pray! God hears the praises and the prayers. He will not reject our prayers or withdraw His love from us. Eat your fill of Spiritual food each day, it is non-fattening, fulfilling and it purges us, pushing out all the sadness, worry and fears. Start with a taste and soon you will find that it takes a lot of Spiritual goodness to keep you satisfied!
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. —Psalm 34:8
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love..— 2 Peter 1:5-7 NIV
We have accepted Christ as our Savior, what now? We are now new creatures in Christ Jesus and the new creature needs different food. Our fleshly desires will want us to continue in the old ways consuming the same old garbage, but these ways will not satisfy the new spiritual man. There will be a hunger and a thirst that we have not known before and that hunger and thirst can only be satisfied by the goodness of the Word of God. We need to add some spiritual food to our daily diet. Here in these verses, Peter has made us a short list of what is to be included. The list ends with love, which holds all the others together and without love, the diet would be incomplete and ineffective. We have been saved by grace through faith, now we need to add goodness and the knowledge of God. This is done by studying and meditating on the Word of God. It also includes prayer and conversations with other Christians. God has called each of us to a work that He planned for us long ago. But, first we need some training because God will never send us where He has not prepared us to go. We are sent to make disciples, but first, we must become disciples.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. — Romans 1:16 NIV
This verse must become alive in us and be the force that drives us to be a disciple. It can only be accomplished through “the power of God”.