"I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me." — Malachi 3:1
This verse is often connected with John the Baptist, the prophet who came to prepare the way for Jesus. It is even quoted in Mark 1:2. But before it was about John the Baptist, it was about Malachi himself, whose name means "my messenger." The message God sent through Malachi was the answer to Israel's questions about where God was and when he was coming.
The purpose of Malachi (and John the Baptist) was to prepare the way ahead of the Lord's coming. We've been looking mostly at the main message that God loves his people. But we've discovered along the way that the people were failing in their love for God. Before God came to them, he wanted them to know where they stood with him. They had time to make improvements in their relationship with God, but that time would someday end.
The same is true for us who await Christ's second coming. What's truly important about being ready for Christ's return is our relationship with him. Are we eager for him to come? I've noticed that the closer I grow to Christ, the more disconnected I become with earthly things. Are there things you are attached to that you have a hard time letting go? Don't assume there will always be time later to straighten your priorities. Now is the time to have our hearts prepared.
Dear Jesus, help us to know you more deeply. May we die to ourselves daily—our stuff, our relationships, even our identity. Give us a growing dependence on you. Amen.