This very question leads honest souls to contemplate life. Perhaps it begins with more questions: “Prepared for what?” “Can I do it?” “Do I have all I need?” “What do I need to do?” Let us ask, “Am I living each day preparing for what it is in store daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and for the end?” Any person preparing is a person who is disciplining themselves to give God the glory in everything. In First Kings 20:39- 42, we read of a man who lost that discipline. Why? He got too busy. This may be the greatest danger facing the church. We are too busy to do the Lord’s work in an effective manner. This is not preparing; this is not a prepared life–the very thing we are called upon to do in our earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4:1-7). Notice how worldly concerns become something that can cost us our souls:
Family (Luke 14:15-24; Matt. 8:18-22): We prepare more for loved ones than our own soul. “I have married a wife…” (Luke 14:20). “Let me go and bury my father…” (Matt. 8:21). How many are unprepared because family is more important (Luke 14:26; Matt. 12:46-50)?
Work: “…I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it…I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them… (Luke 14:9-20). The rich fool was too busy with making a living to properly serve the Lord (Luke 12:16- 21). Are we so busy making a living that we are not serving God?
Entertainment (Eccl. 1:9): Mixed with family schedules, entertainment pursuits are causing many to live an unprepared life. Weddings, funerals, ballgames, hobbies, school functions—these and all temporal things will all cease one day. There is nothing wrong with these things, but when they disrupt the continuity and flow of being an effective part of the Lord’s church and someone else must carry your load, we are not preparing. I have heard, “I cannot go to church, because my friends (or family) are visiting.” If this is an excuse for not worshipping God, then it you may be visiting with your friends and family in a lake of fire. This is serious, brethren.
Education (Eccl. 12:1-13)
Each day we must be preparing for those things that are proper, those things that will count in the end. We must be on guard because the devil would rather we place more emphasis on preparing for temporal rather than spiritual things. While some will reject the aforementioned, realize we do not believe or live our lives this way. Do we want someone who has prepared themselves to be a mechanic doing brain surgery on us? Is there anything wrong with one being a mechanic? No, but I do not want him performing brain surgery on me. Is there anything wrong with preparing to be a husband, wife, father, mother, hard worker, entertainer or being educated? Not at all! However, God wants people who prepare themselves every day to be Christians, and that is whom He will receive.
In Second Timothy 2:1-10, we can glean three things that will lead us to a prepared life every day of the year. As an aging father soon to depart this wretched world, Paul gave advice to Timothy, his young son in the faith. He advised him how to prepare every single day for meeting His Creator and Heavenly Father.
First, be consistent (2 Tim. 2:1-2). Grace usually means favor, but it also implies an active principle communicated from God. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ…” (Phil 4:13). One gains strength to persevere by preparing, being consistent in prayer, Bible study and dependence on the Lord. It may come as a surprise to some, but preparing every day of life means being a teacher at all times. This is what Paul told Timothy. One who properly prepares cannot be a Christian on Sunday and worldly on Monday.
Second, be continuous (2 Tim. 2:3-6). Second Timothy 2:3-4 tells us to endure through hard times with the example of a good soldier who suffers, yet keeps fighting. Our preparation involves suffering, fighting false doctrine and devotion to God by remaining true to the tasks He has assigned us. Second Timothy 2:5 admonishes to be continuous in lawfulness. The Greek Olympic Games demanded all rules be followed in order to win. Christians must follow God’s will (laws) to obtain heaven. Second Timothy 2:6 uses the illustration of a farmer who has the first rights to fruit, but must first give His best to God. Please notice:
• The soldier denies self of the world; he suffers, but when he defeats the enemy, the suffering is worth it all.
• The athlete obeys rigid laws while enduring; when he wins, all endurance is worth it.
• The farmer labors and waits with patience; when harvest is ready, the wait is worth it all.
Paul encouraged Timothy to deny self, suffer and have patience. We can see Paul beginning to taste the victory of his dedication and labors. He is prepared!
Finally, be considerate (2 Tim. 2:7-10). Second Timothy 2:7 tells us to reflect and take in the meaning, and the reason for doing so is given to us in Second Timothy 2:8. We are to do this because Jesus was raised from the dead for us. What are we to do? We are to prepare. Jesus denied Himself, obeyed God, labored and suffered, but death did not win. We must prepare now so that the sting of the second death is not upon us. While this all sounds very well, notice the twist of a prepared life for God in Second Timothy 2:9. Because Paul was mindful of Christ, he was considered an evil doer and was bound with chains. However, he knew—and we know—that God’s word cannot be bound. All those other things for which too many people prepare are bound, because they will cease with our death.
What a wonderful example to any Christian! What wonderful teaching to prepare ourselves, using the proper channel (Bible) that our God may be glorified, His church may continue strong and we can go to heaven. Discipline is the key to everyday life so that we may go to heaven. We are not promised tomorrow. We cannot dabble in the Lord’s house on Sunday, play with the devil the rest of the week and expect to see heaven. We must use every opportunity preparing for heaven by being consistent, continuous and considerate. Let us be thankful, help others, honor God and prepare our souls to meet our Maker in the judgment.