It’s easy to imagine that someday we’ll get to a place where we are complete and ready. But preparation isn’t accomplished suddenly; it’s a process that must be steadily maintained. Our lives must be preparation and preparation. To be in a settled state of experience is a dangerous thing.
A sense of heroic sacrifice appeals readily to young Christians; humanly speaking, what attracts us to Jesus Christ is our sense that he was a heroic figure. But the words our Lord speaks in Matthew 5:23–24 soon put our enthusiasm to the test. Don’t come to the altar in a moment of enthusiasm, Jesus says. “First go” and reconcile yourself to your brother or sister; first prepare yourself to make your offering. The “go” of preparation involves submitting yourself in advance to the scrutiny of Jesus’s words. Simply having a sense of heroic sacrifice isn’t enough.
Do you have anything to hide from God? Let him search you with his light. If you are harboring within you the disposition that can never work in his service, his Spirit will detect it and reveal it. When he reveals sin, don’t admit it; confess it. Never ignore the Spirit’s conviction. If it’s important enough for the Spirit of God to have brought it to your mind, it’s something God wishes you to confess. Perhaps you were looking for something big to give up, but God has pointed out something tiny. No matter what it is, God is telling you about it because beneath it lies the great stronghold of obstinacy: “I won’t give up my right to myself.” This is the very thing God intends you to give up if you are going to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Are you willing to obey your Lord, whatever the humiliation to your right to yourself may be?