Preparation is always in the secret. The potter makes the pot in secret and then showcases it in the public, when it is ready to be admired and stand the rigour of use by those who purchase it.
Everyone used by God had a time of preparation in an obscure place. John the Baptist is a prime example in his. The bible says that he was in the wilderness, in high-level preparation, before he was manifested to Israel (Luke 1:80).
The more important the role, the more intense the regime of preparation or the time one needs to be hidden before being manifested. Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights, in a place of difficulty and temptation, as part of his rigorous preparatory regime.
Preparation is role specific, it’s targeted at bringing out our specific potential and burn off any impediment to achieving our life goals. It is to ensure that we are well cooked before being served to our generation in any service role.
We should not short-circuit preparation by unduly seeking prominence, and positions, refusing to submit fully to the process. If you are properly cooked you will not taste well (Hosea 7:8).
Paul was adequately prepared; at the end he was described by even his distractors as someone who turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6).
He was a one man army that bulldozed away the works of the devil. When he showed up in Ephesus, he disrupted the longstanding arrangement of the worship of idols and was a threat to the trade of the idol makers. In his work, the bible says that so mightily grew the word of God and prevailed (Acts 19).
Commenting about his ministry, he said that he laboured more than the other apostles. His adequate preparation showed in the impact of his life, and his consistency. He was not someone who flip-flopped in spiritual knowledge but held firmly to his convictions even in the face of grievous persecution or pressure from others. He said: I know whom I have believed (2Timothy 1:12). He was deep, and all because of his preparation.
Paul was prepared in different ways. He was intellectually prepared as a Pharisee and as a well-read person, who was also a son of a Pharisee (Acts 23:6).
He was prepared by long time association with other believers at the highest level after he became saved. He was prepared by being baptised in the Holy Spirit (Acts 9). He was also prepared by adequate service. He was in the church in Antioch as a teacher when he was called to be separated together with Barnabas for an independent work (Acts 13:1-3). He was prepared by prayer offered by and for him, and he continued to ask for prayer to be offered for him throughout his life.
Prayer is part of the preparatory process. Jesus said men ought always to pray and not to faint. If you do not faint in the place of prayer, then you will not faint in life (Luke 18:1).
Learning new things is part of the preparation. Before Elijah appeared before King Ahab to declare that there would not be rain in the land for some time, the bible says he prayed fervently. He was prepared in the presence of God, prepared in fervent prayer. The place of prayer is the place of preparation (James 5:16-18).
James while commenting on what Elijah did, said that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avails much, makes tremendous power available.
Prayer, as defined by Jesus, is something done in the secret for God to give a public reward. In the place of prayer is the place of God’s quiver, it is the secret place of the Most High (Psalm 91:1). It is the place where people do not see but God sees (Matthew 6:5-6), it is a place for the exchange of our little strength for God’s mighty power, the place to know God. And the bible says that those who know their God will be strong and do exploits (Daniel 11:32).
If you short-circuit the process of preparation you will short-circuit the process of manifestation. If you are in a haste to manifest, it means you are not submitted to God. And the bible says we should submit ourselves under the mighty hand of God, and he will lift up in due time. The due time is determined by God (1Peter 5:6).
The place of preparation is where you are not noticed. David went through many years of preparation. After he was anointed by Samuel as king in Israel, he discovered that the road to that end is paved with persecution and difficulty.
He had opportunity to force himself to the throne, by killing King Saul his prime persecutor, but he did not do that. He was not in a hurry to be king, not in the hurry to end his own misery. Though he was called to be king, he humbled himself under the mighty has of God till the time of his lifting, after years of running away from the king Saul, who has threatened to kill him. He waited for God’s timing and so was adequately prepared to be effective as a king.
God said: I have found David my servant and with my holy oil have I anointed him (Psalm 89:20). And he added that he will do all his will. And coming to the New Testament the bible says that David fulfilled the will of God in his generation (Acts 13:36). That is the result of adequate preparation.
Moses sensed the call to be the deliverer for Israel from bondage in Egypt and he thought the people was going to recognise his calling, but they did not (Acts 7:20-44). He tried to assert himself by killing an Egyptian single-handedly, but the people still rejected him. And thus he started a journey for forty years of frustration because he was in haste to get the will of God done, not knowing that the will of God is done in God’s time and God’s way. Adequate preparation drums that into you. And eventually when Moses was asked to deliver Israel, he felt genuinely inadequate and needed the assistance of his brother Aaron.
Jesus needed the Ministry of John the Baptist his cousin to introduce him to Israel. If the ministry of John did not start, the ministry of Jesus could not, based on the divine arrangement. Adequate preparation for Jesus therefore meant to be submitted to the ministry of John (Luke 1-4). Jesus received the help of Jesus. We need to be humble enough to receive all the help we need on our journey of preparation. We need others, just as Jesus needed John.
After he was baptised by John, Jesus was driven into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He was driven there by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit therefore supervised his preparation, and was the initiator of his manifestation.
An active cooperation with the Holy Spirit is therefore what we need to be fully prepared. Jesus wanted his disciples adequately prepared, he therefore said that they should wait in Jerusalem to be endowed with power from on high (Acts 1:8). If you cannot wait to be prepared, you are not ready to walk with God.
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