Benjamin Franklin's famous saying goes: "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
Whether we've experienced the consequences of failing to prepare ourselves or witnessed the impact that a lack of planning has on others, it's a phrase that we can all relate to.
For the many minor and major occurrences in our lives, those expected and unexpected, we plan in advance. If we're cooking a meal or going on holiday, getting married or moving house, we gather the necessary materials, familiarise ourselves with the method and gear ourselves up for the task ahead. By doing so we're in a better position to deal with whatever comes our way because we've built up a reserve of knowledge and experience.
In many ways our lives are a big test so it makes perfect sense that we should continually prepare ourselves throughout. Very few of us would intentionally sit an exam without getting ready for it by going over our notes and practising our responses to the questions.
We should conduct ourselves in the same way when it comes to preparing for Jesus' arrival and the trials ahead.
If we fail to prepare for how to deal with temptation, then we're bound to fail. If we fail to prepare for sharing the Gospel by reading, meditating on it and understanding it, then we're bound to fail. And, if we fail to prepare for our entry to heaven, then we're bound to fall.
So, is failing the only thing you're preparing to do?
The Bible is essentially our handbook of how to ready ourselves for when temptation strikes and for when Jesus comes again. If you're in need of some guidance on why preparation is so crucial and how you can do it in a spiritual sense, let these five Bible verses steer you in the right direction.
Ephesians 6:13 – "Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."
Matthew 24:42-44 – "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."
Luke 21:36 – "Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."
2 Timothy 4:2-5 – "Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."
1 Peter 3:15 – "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."