With Christmas coming on, I thought it an appropriate time to reflect on the gifts of the holiday. I was thinking last night, about how the birth of Jesus Christ into our world is everything. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not (and I know Dec. 25th isn't Christ's actual birthday), the fact that God designed a redemption plan for mankind because He loved us enough to give us a second chance, is both heartbreaking and astonishing.
Amid these reflections, I ask myself: do we really understand what was given? Do we comprehend the price paid by the Father and the Son?
Sometimse I feel I sypathize better with the reverent Abraham grasping the dagger above his long promised only son upon that solitude mountain alter, than to the Father of humanity upon His heavenly throne, beholding as His son's life painfully resigned amid the slanders and ridicule of His own brethren. I suppose it's the human aspect that makes it easier to relate to the human Abraham. But is not man created in the image of God, and are not our attributes the whisper of His own? Most undoubtably, God's heart broke at Golgatha. And what of Christ? Willingly led to His own crucifiction to give sinners such as those condemning him the opportunity to be loved by God? No wonder the apostle John was inspired to pen these words, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be
called the sons of God: ..."! (1 Jn. 1:3)
Jesus gave himself in both life and death, through ministry and through crucifiction. God help us overcome our petty cares. I'm not saying this to heap guilt on anybody, I'm saying it because it's truth. And I'm not saying nothing we do is good enough, God accepts what we are able to give-- all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. It's so easy, at times, to make God abstract. Dare we aspire to live in the reality of a mighty, loving, terrible, gracious, merciful God?
How? With your heart. I don't care whether you open a soup kitchen or give everything you have to the poor, if your heart is not perfected and purified by God then these are but empty offerings. God wants you; an obedient, willing heart. When you simply open yourself to the Lord, you enable Him to freely work in your life. Are you willing?
"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Rom. 8:18
I think we can easily become decieved into thinking that our struggles with Christianity are worse than everybody else's. All those strong Christians we see and know must have it so easy, right? Wrong. Usually the reason someone is strong is because they have experienced and endured and triuphed the same trials you face. Loving God is not a feeling. It's a purpose of the heart. It's a willful decision to fight the tide, to throw ourselves upon the Rock and be broken, because we cannot stand alone; to climb over the roadblocks satan puts in our path. Christianity is not a key that unlocks an easy life, but it is the key to peace. Paying the price of toil is nothing compared to the price that was payed to pave our way. "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of
Jesus Christ." 2 Tim. 2:3
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Rom. 12:2
It's so easy to just give up, to lose ourselves to the tumbling current of this world, to stop fighting; but the instant we do, just as on the battle field, we are dead. Those who endure recieve the victory. The fight's not over, not in this lifetime.
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. ... Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall
receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." Jam. 1:2-4, 12
Fighting the good fight,