“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
~ Colossians 3:17, NLT
It’s that time of year again. Time for turkey and trimmings and the beginning stages of preparing for Christmas. I love this time of year, and yet find there is an ever increasing sense of struggle to keep the Grinch from stealing the joy of the season. Watching the news over the events of Black Friday only compounded the situation. I was horrified to hear people were pepper sprayed and robbed. I have known for years the retail market has turned one of the most blessed holidays into a shopping frenzy, but to see the extreme callousness of individuals continues to amaze me. Rude and obnoxious behavior is not only demonstrated while people are shopping, but as they “Occupy” the streets for a cause or play in professional sports (stomping on another player in the name of the game).
About the time I think “seriously people, what’s wrong with you?” my own sin nature pops up in an ugly way, revealing a heart that is still desperately wicked and self-absorbed. Before I start picking at the splinter in someone else’s eye, I need to do major surgery on the beam in my own.
You see, no matter how hard I try to escape the selfishness within me, it is revealed again and again in the day to day of living. I’m fine when I’m one on One with the Lord alone in my home, but add other people into the mix and the core of human nature is exposed. I’m a nice person until I have to deal with other people………
Thank God I don’t have to pretend to be anything more than who I am, but can trust the Lord to do His best work in me. When I am completely aware of my wretchedness, I am most aware of my need for a Savior. I can’t produce anything good on my own, because there is no good in me. I can become transparent though, allowing the light of the Lord to shine through. As I recognize the baseness of my human character and all the flaws, I am then faced with a choice. Will I continue to try to manufacture good, which is truly only self-promoting and protecting, or will I choose to surrender my will to the One Who can perfect me?
When I choose to surrender, it means deliberately humbling myself and not exalting my needs, my wants, my desires. It means getting out of my selfish self and behaving as a servant.
It’s a tough road at times and rubs against the natural bent of my spirit. Yet everytime I choose to submit and obey the teachings of Jesus Christ, following His example, I find I am filled with peace that surpasses understanding, Instead of being consumed with what I can get and how I can protect and promote myself, I am filled with joy and contentment as I serve others in kindness and genuine compassion. It is especially aparent during seasons such as this when the struggle between what is good and right in this world stands in stark contrast to what isn’t.
Have you ever seen the look of surprise and delight on the face of another when you acted in kindness instead of anger during a stressful situation? If so, you know what I’m talking about. There’s something incredibly powerful about grace demonstrated through actions.
And so, here we are, fast forwarding into the Christmas season where most of the world is more interested in what they can get rather than the true meaning. The true gift of Christmas is NOT wrapped up in the self-promoting bow of “look at what I gave (or got)” but rather in the humble swaddling clothes of an infant born in a stable.
King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of peace, laying aside all His glory to come to show us the way, not through might or demonstation of power, but humbly, quietly serving.
If He, who has all the power of creation at His fingertips can lay down His life to serve an ungrateful people, to set an example of true love, can I do any less?
It is only by His light shining through me that I am able to see the way.