Last week, in Preparing the way for Easter, Part 2, we saw that one part of preparing the way of the Lord is to be so totally committed to God that we will freely confess Him before men, no matter what the possible consequences. But there is more: "Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth..." (Isa 40:3-4, NKJV).

How do we go about making straight paths in the desert?

It is by our free confession, friends!

Let's remember that a "confession" is far more than words. We can say we confess Jesus, but if our actions do not show it, then our words are empty and meaningless. Remember the words of Jesus’ brother James? "I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, 'Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I'll handle the works department.' Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove." (Jas 2:18, MSG)

Though our works will never save us ("For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Eph 2:8-9, NKJV), they will be the fruit of our faith. When we truly confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior, when we put Him as number one in our lives, our lives will be a living testimony of that union. We won't have to think about doing good works. They will just happen!

Let’s look to Jesus, our ultimate example for everything: "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me, to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD." (Luke 4:18 NKJV)

In these words of our Lord and Savior we see exactly what kinds of fruit will be a living testimony of our faith-union with Christ: We must go to the "poor", heal the brokenhearted, pray for the sick, and help those who don't know God to find Him!

This Truth is confirmed by Jesus' later words: "When the Son of Man comes in His glory... He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'" (Matt 25:31-36, NKJV)

In other words, the difference between the "sheep" and the "goats" is feeding the hungry, giving clothing to the naked and the cold, visiting those in prison, and healing the sick!

But notice that those designated "sheep" weren't doing these things to ensure Heaven: "Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You...?" (Matt 25:37-39) They had their focus so much on God and Him alone that their "confession" of Jesus Christ wasn't something they "did," it was something they lived! It was the fruit of their changed lives! It was who they had become!

In confessing Jesus through our actions as well as our words, we will make straight paths before their feet! We will bring down mountains before them! We will exalt every valley! We will make the rough places smooth... We will prepare the way of the Lord!

What about it, friends? As we prepare for this upcoming Easter season, will you join me in resolving to put our focus on "preparing the way of the Lord"? Will you resolve with me to put God first and foremost in everything? Because when we do, the fruit of our relationship with Him will be that we "confess" Him before men in our actions, and it will be so natural to us that we won't even realize we're doing it!

In His love,
Lyn


Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries.

(To access the rest of the "Prepare the way for Easter" mini-series, click here.)