The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. Luke 3:9-10 (NIV)
People are flocking to hear John the Baptist. Out of the wilderness comes this voice calling us to repent and turn from our ways. He calls us to stop with our busy lives and look up. He tells us to check our religious routines and see if God is present in our lives. As we find people coming to hear what his message is about, he calls us a brood of vipers. He asks what it is that we have sensed deep inside that moved us to consider our eternal future. He want to know if our hearts are aware that one day we will need to settle accounts with our Maker. Then he goes on to instruct. He warns of lethargic thinking. He warns against overconfidence in association to God in any other form than an honest turning to Him.
“What should we do?” The curious ask. What does the prophet say? Does he give them a new set of cold rules to follow? Does he tell them to form a special sect of the church? Or does he lead them to a state of heart? Does he ask them begin to reflect the Character of God? Does he inform us from the Spirit which is moving him to speak, that we should seek to be compassionate, kind and honest? Does his message come to normal people too? Does it reach each of us?
John the Baptist´s work is to make straight a path for One who comes after him. His work is to make a smooth road for the Lord. All the rough areas are prepared for the Savior. The high are lowered the low are lifted. All meet in the middle to take the crookedness and the roughness out. A Way is prepared for our Lord. Our hearts are prepared for Him. With John´s message and through an immersion and washing of our soul, we can now be touched by Jesus. It starts with a turning. We realize we have lived only for ourselves. We turn to God. We repent. Then a Way to Heaven is opened up unto us. Then Jesus can reach our hearts. We can come to know Him. He can be our Guide. He can be our salvation. Is that what our hearts have secretly been yearning for?
Have we ever taken a good look at what John was trying to do? Has his words ever fallen on the ears of our hearts? Have we let those words apply to us? Did they speak to us directly? Did they open a path within our hearts? Did they smooth out any rough places? Did they direct us unto God with an open heart? Did they turn us from forever pursuing our own worldly desires? Did they bring us to look at our relation to the Lord? Did they open our eyes to see if our character reflects His? Is John somehow still secretly working through the message he left us? Are we ready to meet the One who will come after?
Dear Lord, we would stop playing with frivolous ideas and chasing our own desires. We would hear this voice in the wilderness. It still after all these years directs us unto God in Heaven. It brings us to You. Let those words reach deep into our hearts. Let us HEAR them and be moved in response to them. Allow words that bring us to look to You and draw us closer help to smooth a path for You. Let our instruction enlighten us and make a good road to bring us unto You. When our hearts are sufficiently prepared to receive Him, send us Your Son. Send us we pray, a Guide who will take us by the hand and lead us safely to Your side.