Ready – Outside and In

“Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning;” Luke 12:35

Watchfulness is every Christian’s calling. The Lord expects every one of His followers to be eagerly waiting for His return. As Jesus said in the verse following our text “and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master (Luke 12:36).” But this “waiting” is not to be an idle or unproductive slumbering away of our time. No. Godly readiness demands urgency and activity. Thus the Lord Jesus says “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning.” I take this to indicate both an outward and an inward preparation for service as we await the coming of the Lord. There are certain outward or external disciplines needed to facilitate your readiness, and that is to have your “waist be girded.” And there is also a necessary inward preparation of the heart for serving the Lord, and that is to have “your lamps burning.” Thus our Lord’s command for our “waist” to “be girded” and our “lamps burning” is a command to be ready both outside and in.

OUTSIDE

Girding the waist was a very practical and necessary preparation to engage in working, or running, or fighting. And so it is in the Christian life that there are many very practical things needed to be done as we seek to live for God in this world. Take Bible reading. You will need a plan, and a place, and a time…and a Bible! You will need to exclude many other intruding distractions by adequate preparation beforehand. Take Sunday worship and the Lord’s Day. Have you girded your waist for this day? Have you taken care of your weekly activities to make time to devote this day to works of mercy and necessity? How about Christian generosity, tithing, offerings, and all sorts of support to others in need. Is our waist girded here with hard work, setting something aside, prayerfully thinking how best to employ these resources which the Lord has given us? Girding your waist involves all of the practical preparations and actions needed for Godly living.

INSIDE

A burning lamp is a heart that is ready. True religion is heart religion. No amount of outward preparations can ever replace the need for inward preparation. “Rend your hearts, and not your garments (Joel 2:13).” The Pharisees washed the outside of the cup only. But the Christian cup of service must be washed both inside and out. So light your lamp. Prepare yourself inwardly by true gospel repentance for every known sin. Isaiah knew himself a sinful man, a man of “unclean lips”, and the angel communicated forgiveness through that burning coal and said “Behold, this has touched your lips, your iniquity is taken away, your sin is purged (Isaiah 6:7).” Light your lamp by communion with God in His word and by meditating upon it. Those disciples felt that inward burning who said “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked with us on the road (Luke 24:32).”

Gospel readiness is thus outward and inward. Blessed is that man whom Christ finds with both girded waist and burning lamp! “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes (Luke 12:43).” It is the whole man that Christ purchased. “Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are His (1 Cor. 6:20).” So Christian: gird the waist and light the lamp! Make every practical preparation for service, and then prepare the heart to rise up to the occasion as well. Work hard for the Lord and pray hard to the Lord. Give Him your hands and give Him your heart. Take pains about that which is your duty to perform, and stir up those holy affections to accompany your effort for our King. Oh Christian – Christ is coming! There is no time to be lingering and loitering when there is so much good to be done for our Savior and mankind. Gird up, and light up! “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning.”

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