Joseph and Mary would never have planned for their lives to turn out the way they did. They wouldn’t have chosen all the hardship, criticism and inconvenience that the birth of this Baby brought into their lives. Yet they willingly accepted God’s plan because they surrendered their future to Him. Becoming a follower of Christ means that your future is not your own. Are you willing to accept whatever that may bring for His glory?
Does the birth of Jesus actually make any difference in our lives today, right here and now in our present circumstances? Yes, it does! When Jesus came into the world, He was “God with us”, and because God is with us, every moment of our lives is radically different. Because of His abiding presence, we can face the confusing, troubling situations of life without fear, knowing that He will never leave us or forsake us.
It’s easy to “say” we would follow God anywhere, but it’s a whole different story when He actually calls us to step out into the complete unknown and follow Him by faith without having a clue how things are going to turn out. Doing so requires us to relinquish control of our lives and trust that whatever God brings about is ultimately best. Are you willing to trust God that way?
In a world of more than 7 billion people, it is easy to feel that your life has no significance to God. But as we look through the Bible, we do not see God using hundreds or thousands of people to bring about His plans. Instead, we see Him using individual men and women. God is still looking for just one willing person to stand up and say, “God, I choose to be identified with you. Please use my life for your glory.” Will you be that one?
Do you trust God? The real answer to that question is found, not in what you say, but in how much of your life you are still trying to control. This is actually a symptom of pride, because you are telling God you can handle things without Him. God asks us to place our lives under His control, and trust in His wisdom instead of our own. When we do, we will begin living the way He designed us to live, and we will be the recipients of His promised care.
There is, in all our hearts, a rebellion against authority. We see it in everyone, from the infant who screams when she doesn’t get her way, to the old man who still cheats on his taxes. We don’t like anyone ruling over us, but we were created to live within the boundaries of God’s authority. Is there still rebellion in your heart; areas where you are determined to go your own way? Surrender those to God, find joy under His authority, and you will finally discover true freedom!
“I love you.” Those three words are spoken millions of times every day, but we all know that it is much easier to say those words than it is to actually live them out. Yet the Bible calls us to extend ourselves in love to others the way Christ extended Himself in love to us. He poured Himself out, holding nothing back. That seems like an awful lot to ask! Is that even possible, and if so how are we supposed do it?
“Don’t worry, I know where I’m going!” Have you ever said that to anyone in the car, and then you ended up getting lost? It’s one thing to be on the wrong road while driving, but it’s a far more serious thing to be on the wrong road in life. How do we find direction for daily decisions? Is there anything more reliable to go on than just our feelings or how things look, and if so, how do we discover it?
Jesus told the most religious people in Jerusalem that even though they diligently studied the Scriptures, they still did not have the very life of which the Scriptures spoke. How is that possible? It’s possible because we can read the Bible, go to church and do all kinds of religious things, yet still completely miss Jesus! You may be religious, but have you ever come to Jesus to find the life, forgiveness and hope that only He provides?
We sometimes grow impatient or even angry with God if He allows pain and sorrow into our lives. We question His love for us and wonder why a good God would ever allow us to hurt. But we must realize that we exist for one reason only, and that is bring glory to God; and whatever methods He may choose in order to be glorified through us are right and good. Have you ever come to terms with this vital truth?
“I’m not a bad person.” This is the response many people give when asked why God should allow them into heaven. But believing that we are good enough for heaven will actually send us to hell! No amount of religion or good deeds can ever save us. This only happens when we see our sin and admit our need for a Savior. So, are you good or are you saved?
“Follow Me.” This is the call Jesus extended to four simple fishermen along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Little did those young men know what that call would entail, but their obedience forever changed their lives and ultimately changed the world. How do you respond when Jesus calls you to put Him above everything and everyone else and follow Him wherever He may lead?