29 Dec 2011
We have once again recently concluded the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus, Yeshua, The Lord’s Salvation. This gift to all mankind, Jesus the Savior, is without doubt the greatest gift that has ever been known by man. Yet in our day and time I fear that we may often misconstrue and minimize the true nature and size of this wonderful gift.
In the days before Jesus was born the Jewish scholars were carefully studying the prophecies concerning the coming Messiah. It is reported that most felt that these prophecies must require two men, perhaps twins, to fulfill both the suffering and the majestic victories that were foretold. The one thing they failed to consider was that their Messiah would suffer and die, and be raised again from the dead.
There is a degree of truth flowing from this idea of dualism. While we must receive this great gift we should also find our hearts completely open to give from the power and wealth we have received. The giving releases the gift to expand to its natural and designated size.
There is of a certainty a significant portion of the outworking of God’s gift of Jesus that is directed to us to personally and individually receive.
John 3:14-16 (AMP)
14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert [on a pole], so must [so it is necessary that] the Son of Man be lifted up [on the cross],
15 In order that everyone who believes in Him [who cleaves to Him, trusts Him, and relies on Him] may not perish, but have eternal life and [actually] live forever!
16 For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
Galatians 4:4-7 (AMP)
4 But when the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born subject to [the regulations of] the Law,
5 To purchase the freedom of (to ransom, to redeem, to tone for) those who were subject to the Law, that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us [and be recognized as God’s sons].
6 And because you [really] are [His] sons, God has sent the [Holy] Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba (Father)! Father!
7 Therefore, you are no longer a slave (bond servant) but a son; and if a son, then [it follows that you are] an heir by the aid of God, through Christ.
There is however a persuasive pull from our pride and self centeredness to limit the work of God to ourselves, to see and understand all of the gospel as being performed by God purely for our benefit. We then diminish the magnitude of the gift of Jesus when we constrict it to the miniscule confines of our self centered heart, when we believe and respond to this gift of God assuming that it is purely for our private personal well being.
We were created to serve God. God’s nature is not one of being a genie instantly ready to serve our self centered whims. He is God and we are not! Our true position is one of a created being, created and designed to worship and serve our Creator King and Savior. He is the potter and we are the clay. Jesus is our Savior, and He is also our example.
1 Peter 2:21-24 (NASB77)
21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;
23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;
24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
God sent Jesus to die for our sins first for His glory and then for our good. Our role in relationship with God is not to wear out the back of our shirt patting ourselves on the back, but rather to worship and serve our risen Savior by obeying all that He commanded. As Jesus poured out His life for us we are to also pour out our lives for others. We are to make disciples. We are to give to and support the downtrodden the widows and orphans and prisoners. We are to die to ourselves and live for Christ and for His glory. These may be some of our most correct responses to celebrate the birth of Christ.
The time is short and we must get our thinking clear. If we are to be fully prepared for the revival that God plans to bring we must start now. We must lay down our self centered “receiving bag” and pick up our “Christ following shoes.” When Jesus gave His everything, He was not simply a gift for us to receive, but also an example for us to follow.
John 13:14-15 (AMP)
14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher (Master), have washed your feet, you ought [it is your duty, you are under obligation, you owe it] to wash one another’s feet.
15 For I have given you this as an example, so that you should do [in your turn] what I have done to you.
As you think about the year ahead, I would challenge you to consider what would the Lord desire you to change that would allow you to follow Him more closely and to be better prepared for the revival work He has planned for you. Does God desire a change in your priorities? Does He wish to refine your passions? Does He yearn for some adjustment in your prayer life?
Let’s commit together to follow Jesus …. wherever He leads, whatever changes He requests, no reservations, simply but completely following Him. It is our only reasonable response to His gift.