So this morning, as I contemplate the meaning of life (ha ha), I realize it’s already December 1st , and I haven’t even decorated or put up a tree, and to be honest I’m not in a hurry to do any of that. The Christmas season is here, and it will vanish as quickly as it came- with sighs of relief from stressed shoppers who are more self-aware than God aware. Not trying to be judgy because I have gotten into the Christmas pit more times that I can count, but seriously, I just want to embrace a new Christmas tradition that doesn’t involve going into debt to purchase junk that will soon fill our landfills. I’m over that, but I still have young kids, and they have been conditioned to this Western mindset of gift receiving that has become beyond ridiculous. That’s why I like the idea of the Advent Calendar, but it started yesterday and I haven’t even approached the subject with my kids yet (mom of the year!).
How am I supposed to slow down and reevaluate MY approach to Christmas? Well, this morning as I was worshipping through music and prayer, I heard the voice of Christ speak to my heart as He reminded me of these four words, “Abide in My love.” That word abide is not common in our everyday English vernacular, so I needed some synonyms to help me grasp just what Jesus meant:
- To remain
- Never leave
- To sojourn
- To tarry
- To stay
Stay! Don’t leave. You are loved.
Wow! I don’t know about you, but I needed to be reminded that Jesus loves ME. Yep! Little ol’ me- flaws, brokenness, wild morning hair ME is loved by the Savior of the world, and I’m on a mission to share that love with as many people as I can until Jesus returns. But sadly, the “joyful” Christmas season, though, can be very lonely for many people and cause great distress in our hearts because of the constant, flagrant media deluge that commands us to buy, buy, buy when we don’t have, have, have! So I’m turning a deaf ear to the commercialism of this holiday, and I refuse to get caught up in spending beyond my limits or even beyond what’s reasonable. I am determined to stay in Christ’s love. It won’t be easy because this world (and the prince of the power of the air) has a death grip on our minds so I will have to fight many battles. Thankfully, though, I possess a powerful sword- the Word of God! This time-worn weapon will see me (and you) through the busy Christmas season.
Where should you begin? I mean, there are 66 books in the Bible, and some of them make you feel like you need a doctoral degree in theology just to dissect it. My answer is found in a powerful acronym- KISS:
Beloved, you can quiet your soul and start with the Gospels. This morning, as I thought about abiding in the love of Christ, I was gently reminded that the Apostle John understood love and even called himself the “one Jesus loves.” So I decided it was high time for me to take a little trip through the pages of the Gospel of John in a quest to find that secret place of love. I determined to sit myself down in the presence of Jesus with the Gospel opened, and I simply began to ask Jesus to “wash me in His Word.” As the words poured from my heart, I knew I was asking for His perfect will, and His love began to pour over me. I made myself at home while our Lord prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemy. My cup overflowed with His goodness and His mercy stands guard beside me. Yes! It can happen this holiday season. You, too, can find the secret place of love, and weary one, you can’t wear out your welcome in God’s house because His door is forever open, and His arms are always outstretched- you simply have to enter in. Today, if you will lean in and listen to the words of Jesus then you will discover the simple secret to forever living in His love:
When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love (Jesus Christ- The Gospel of John 15:10).
Oh my! Obedience is the key that opens love’s door. Overcomer, you will NEVER be comfortable in Christ’s love if you refuse to obey His commands, and YES that means the entire Word of God- no matter how archaic you think it is. So if you’re struggling with resting in the love of Jesus, then it might be an obedience issue. Take the time to examine your heart to see if there is anything keeping you from abiding in the love of Christ today. If so, repent, accept His forgiveness, and sit at His feet. Become less self-aware and more Christ aware this season, and you will learn the secret to basking in the Father's love:
They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed (Psalms 34:5).
Father, help me to find the secret place of your love. I want to live permanently in Your presence, in Your home, and before Your throne. Lord, give me an obedient heart, and cause Your words to abide in me. Jesus, quiet me as I remain in Your love. Holy Spirit, flood my mind with fresh revelation from Your Word. Teach me to walk in Your ways as I keep my eyes on the author and finisher of my faith. Today, I want to be less self-aware and more God-aware. Make my face radiant as I look to You.
In Jesus’ name