Preparing Our Hearts
Many people are keeping Lent at this time, but we need to prepare our hearts not just for this time that remembers the past, but we need to prepare our hearts for what is coming in the future.
Zechariah 9:9 tells us this: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Matthew 21:1-11 also tells us this: “Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, “The Lord needs them,” and he will send them at once.’ This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”’ The disciples went and did as Yeshua had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’ And when He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, ‘Who is this?’ And the crowds said, ‘This is the prophet Yeshua, from Nazareth of Galilee.’”
Because the people knew the prophecy, when it was fulfilled right before them they acted accordingly. Yeshua made this statement in Matthew 16: “He replied to them, ‘When it is evening, you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.” And in the morning, “There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.” Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?’”
Are we discerning the times? If we are not, how will we be ready for what is coming? It may not be today, but what about tomorrow? For no one knows the time or the hour. Yeshua tells us in Matthew 24:42-44, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
We must be ready like the five wise virgins who had prepared for the coming of the bridegroom even if he came late (Matthew 25:1-13). So how do we prepare?
First, we must let go of the world’s hold on us. We cannot serve two masters.
Secondly, we must be anxiously waiting for only one: the King of Kings, as it tells us in Jude 1:21, “Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah to eternal life.” When speaking about prayer, Yeshua ends His parable with a very interesting statement in Luke 18:8: “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
Third, will our faith carry us through? We are told that faith comes from hearing the Word of God. Romans 10:5-16 tells us, “For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: ‘Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?” (that is, to bring Messiah down), or “Who will descend into the abyss?” (that is, to bring Messiah up from the dead).’ But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Yeshua as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for ‘Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!’ However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our report?’ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Messiah.” So the practicing of our faith is important, but just to know the Word is not enough. James 2:18 tells us, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
The fourth thing that we must do to be prepared is not only to live by God’s Word, but we must bring the good news to others. If we believe what the Bible tells us, then we should be confessing that before men. We should be working to advance the kingdom, and when our Messiah returns He will find faith in us and will find us doing the work of the kingdom. It will keep us from falling into the trappings of the world and it will keep the Word of God always before us, and our faith will grow as we bring more and more people into the kingdom.
Keep your oil burning and you will be prepared for the coming Bridegroom.