"There is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah"
2 Nephi 2:8 (The Book of Mormon)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord

Centuries before the birth of the Savior, many prophets foresaw the ministry of the one who was called to prepare the way of the Lord.  This great prophet, who we know as John the Baptist, was given the singular mission of preparing the very people who would receive the mortal Savior.  What was his message to them?

"Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand... 
Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight."
Matthew 3: 2-3

Who was John's intended audience?  Was it only those who physically would walk with the Savior?  I believe that John's message is a personal invitation to each of us individually, to receive the Lord.  He tells us, in beautiful simplicity, what we must do if we are to prepare the way of the Savior into our hearts, that we might walk with Him in His paths.

What is Repentance?

As a youth and even into my adult years, I believed repentance was for when I had done something gravely wrong.  While this is true, repentance is so much more.  As I have learned and grown in my gospel understanding, I have come to love this beautiful principle.  It is a tool the Father has blessed us with through the Atonement of the Savior.  Repentance is the process through which we follow the Savior and become like Him.

Sometimes the gap between who I am and who the Savior is can feel overwhelming.  Over the years, the spirit has taught me that as I strive to live with a repentant heart... step by step that gap can be overcome because of His goodness, His mercy and His power to carry me the distance I cannot achieve on my own.  

The Bible Dictionary defines repentance as: 
"a turning of the heart and will to God, and a 
renunciation of sin to which we are naturally inclined."

With this definition in mind, living in a state of constant repentance becomes a healing, peace giving gift.  For me this is a moment to moment opportunity that I am deeply and profoundly grateful for.

Following His baptism, the Savior retired to the wilderness for 40 days of fasting and prayer.  After rebuking the great tempter in every point, we read,

"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say,
Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Matthew 4:17

Next week we will look at John 3 & 4.  I encourage you to prayerfully study these chapters  this week.  May God bless you in your efforts to draw nearer to Him!

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