Joyfully Serving My Master

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Location: Indiana, United States

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas Love

We are quickly coming upon Christmas. What a wonderful time of year where we all focus together on the coming of Jesus to earth. These days there are many distractions that try to draw our attention away from Jesus. There are parties, programs, presents to buy and wrap, and on, and on. Therefore as we enter the Christmas season, we must purpose fix our eyes on Jesus. It is a time to revel in the incredible love that was showered on mankind when Jesus came to earth as a baby, lived a sinless life, died on the cross to pay for our sins, and rose again to prove that his sacrifice was accepted. Christmas gives us a picture of the amazing love of God.

As I was preparing to teach on Revelation recently, I began to ponder the love of God shown in the letters to the churches. I was still pondering this love as I reached 4:11 which says, "Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created." Here I stopped as the Holy Spirit took God’s Word and connected some of the dots in my mind. I realized for the first time that the amazing love of God that we see at Christmas, and Easter, and as we look to the future redemption of the church, was just as powerfully displayed the moment God spoke the world into being.

You see, from eternity past God knew every detail of time. Before there was light, God knew that man would sin. Before the waters were separated to produce land, God understood fully that the sin man would commit would condemn him to an eternity in hell to pay for that sin. Before plants began to grow on the land, God had purposed to take that punishment on Himself by becoming a man and dying on the cross. Before the sun began to shine, God knew the pain of the nails being driven into his hands and feet. Before a bird flew overhead or a beast walked the earth, God felt the utter aloneness of being completely forsaken as he bore our sin. And yet He created man anyway. Do you understand that because God knew everything that was to come from eternity past, that the very act of creation shouts the love of God? God wanted to have a relationship with man to such a degree that he committed Himself to everything He would suffer before He created anything. All the promises God has made, were sealed before time began.

Is it any wonder then that we also read of God being a jealous God (Ex. 34:14)? A love so great and so fully committed must be reciprocated. He has done everything to build a relationship with us. He has bound Himself to provide a way for us to have that relationship for all eternity if we will but accept it on His terms. He has offered forgiveness for sin, and gives us instead His own record of perfect righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). This love is a powerful and absolute love. As we read in Romans 8:38-39:

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now, let’s get back to Christmas. The way to experience joy and peace this Christmas is to immerse ourselves in the love of God. We are able to serve joyfully and effectively when we look deeply into the love of God and seek to reflect to others what we have ourselves received. We can give generously (while being a good steward of our finances) when we remember the love that motivated God to give. We will not be able to keep silent about this love as our heart so fully overflows with gratitude for the relationship that God has initiated and built with us. So, my challenge to you is to purposefully focus each day on the love of God which is celebrated at Christmas, and to allow all the rest to flow naturally from overwhelming gratitude for God’s amazing love.