Preparing A Heart

My dear husband, Troy, used to stand at the pulpit and teach the Word of God weekly. I'd marvel at his weekly study routine: the books, the note-taking, the quietly looking out the window with earphones on. I remember asking him one time: "Is it hard to prepare a sermon?"

He paused, and replied with this:

"I have to prepare a heart before I can prepare a sermon. That's where the true challenge lies."

I will never forget that. I admire and respect Troy so much, and through the decade of full-time pastoral ministry, always saw him approach ministry with authenticity over professionalism.

But that is not why his response that day continues to stir my mind today. Instead, it is the deeply applicable truth it has upon all areas of my life, that keeps me coming back to it.

  • I have to prepare my heart before I can serve my husband.
  • I have to prepare my heart before I can write a blog post.
  • I have to prepare my heart before I can train my children.
  • I have to prepare my heart before I can present my home for hospitably.

I have to prepare a heart before I can prepare to live out the words I want my life to speak about Christ. You must be influenced before you can influence. 

In other words, I am penning a message each week--each day--with my life, that testifies to my love for Christ. A well-crafted outward appearance, home, or nest of children is simply not a substitute for the real truth of a surrendered heart. In fact, a prepared heart in worship and truth is the ONLY means by which we can prepare any outward product we hope to share as witness to others.

And how do we prepare a heart? There's no other way but to let the Word of God transform us from the inside out. The more we are exposed to God's Word, the more we find ourselves exposed.

Is what you're proclaiming to others an overflow of a transformed heart? Let's turn our gaze from the busy tasks of producing and the challenging work of preparing a heart--our hearts. God's faithful to do this work; let's be faithful to respond to it in humility and faith.

{The lovely photograph for this post is by my friend, Tish Goff.}


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