I recently read a book called The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. One of the quotes they use several times throughout their book goes as follows:
Don't prepare the path for the child, prepare the child for the path.
When I heard this quote, it made me think about the "voice of one crying in the wilderness" in Isaiah and the Gospels, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, Make his paths straight."
The original and intended meaning of this phrase is that of a forerunner, a man in ancient times who would go into a country before a monarch would and build bridges, find fords for rivers, and help the local country get supplies to prepare for the visit of the regent. But after reading this book by Haidt and Lukianoff, it made me thing of a secondary application of this text.
The first phase of the Christian experience is to prepare open your heart to receive Christ. This was represented in the work of John the Baptist. He spoke daily in the wilderness with a message for Israel to repent of their sins and be baptized (Matthew 3:5-12). However, after you accept Jesus into your heart, the story changes somewhat. The story shifts from man allowing His heart to be opened (which happens at the point of "conversion") to man allowing Jesus to prepare his heart for the road ahead (sanctification).
The Christian "walk" does not end at conversion or baptism. The Christian "walk" is similar to the parable at the top of this post "prepare the child for the path." Little by little, Christ changes our character, prepares us for more and more witnessing activities, gives us experiences to change our personality to conform to our heavenly passport, and makes us ready for an eternity in heaven.