Too often I make following Christ complex and burdensome. I can grab hold of Christian activities and programs, and expect them to bring me closer to God. I look to the acceptance and friendship of the “right” people (you know, the Christians that appear to have their act together) to bring fulfillment. Striving, busyness, performance leave me empty, tired and wondering why God feels so far away. Where is the “abundant life” Jesus promised?
As John, the “beloved” disciple followed Jesus, he learned a new way of living. It wasn’t based on achievement, to-do lists, or hanging out with the right people. It was a way of life born in the very heart of God. As I cry out to God and He answers through the words of John:
God, I want to know you, not just in my head, but deeply in my heart;
“Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God.” 1John 4:15 The Message
Lord, may your love rule in the ordinary and extraordinary moments of today;
“And so we know and rely on the love has for us. God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us.” v16
Deliver me from the judgement that I deserve and keep me from trying to be the judge of others;
“In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of Judgement because in this world we are like him.” v17 from NIV
Apart from you Lord, I can be afraid of my own shadow. Let me trust in you today;
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment.” v18 NIV
The message of Christmas is so simple, yet takes a lifetime to understand. God came down to the squalor and brokenness of this world in the humble, vulnerable form of a baby. He lived among us, served us and in the end, died on a cross to take the punishment we deserved. May we faithfully follow Jesus.
“We love because he first loved us…And he has given us this command: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” v19…21. May this be true in our lives today. Amen.