No one likes rough roads. (Unless maybe you are in an offroad vehicle.)
I remember a road we had to take out to the beach in northern California. Every year we went it seemed to get worse. There was not a smooth path through the ever growing ruts. We navigated ever so slowly to avoid damaging the suspension on the car or van. It was not a comfortable ride.
I remember thinking, “A load of gravel and a grader would take care of this in an afternoon.” Even though it was a year between visits, it just seemed the road was never fixed. The pot holes remained. The road remained rough.
This road reminds me of our hearts. There are some potholes of sin with which we get comfortable, work to navigate around, or just are content with them impeding life and making it difficult.
Perhaps some of these potholes of sin have lingered for years. Some may think it would be easy to fix, but we just are content in allowing the pothole to exists.
It may be a pothole of pride. It may be a pothole of pent up anger at someone from your past. It may be a pothole of addiction that keeps us relying on something other than God to navigate life. It may be greed, envy, or lust…and the list goes on. What are your potholes?
Isaiah points out to us that these potholes, rough and crooked roads in our heart need to be fixed for Jesus to enter.
Isaiah 40:3 A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.
John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus and the last of the Old Testament prophets was the fulfillment of this passage. He pointed out the way for the potholes of sin to be filled and the path level and straight for the Lord was through repentance.
He called all people, tax collectors, soldiers, and religious leaders to turn from sin and relying on self to rely on Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
As they turned from sin to Jesus, he baptized them for the forgiveness of their sin. What filled the hole, raised the valley or made the path straight was the forgiveness Jesus came to give.
Luke 3:3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with[b] water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.
John knew that every person to whom he preached needed Jesus because every person was sinful.
The same is true today. We need Christmas because we all sin. Because we all sin, we all need Jesus. Because we need Jesus, we need Christmas!
Apply: What are the crooked roads, the valleys, the high places that need leveling by God’s call to repentance and filled with his forgiveness?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for coming into this world so that my heart might be filled with your love and forgiveness. Give me power and strength to remove the potholes of sin and have a heart that is level and smooth for you to enter and reside forever. AMEN.