“Don’t let Satan rob you of the joy of the season.” I read this exhortation in an advent devotional the first week of December. How might this happen? By taking our focus from Jesus Christ.
When the deceiver points to meager gifts, disappointing festivities, burned sugar cookies, or… remember:
–Jesus came so we can live in the presence of God.
When my heart opened to Jesus Christ it was as if a veil lifted from my eyes and I saw Him, I knew who He was, and I was in His presence. I don’t know if Adam and Eve’s ability to walk with God was like mine before they doubted His goodness and challenged His sovereignty. However, I do know I walk with God for I am no longer at enmity with Him.
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” ESV
He is never distant. Although I don’t always see Him in the details my ability to notice is becoming more and more refined. One winter morning I awoke thinking it was the middle of the night. Then I heard the fire crackling in the stove near the kitchen and knew my husband was up. Before I went to bed, I had asked God to help me sleep all night instead of awakening at two or three o’clock. God heard my request and responded.
–Jesus came that we may have life abundantly.
John 10:10 reads: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
An abundant life. If you are anything like me, you quote that Scripture a lot. But what does it really mean? I have crossed paths with brothers and sisters in Christ whom I have not seen in a while. To catch me up on all that has occurred since we last talked, they tell me they are living the “good life.” Usually, that means everything is going their way. But is this the life Jesus was talking about?
The Greek word translated “abundantly” is “perissos.” It means superabundant–in quantity, or superior—in quality; excessive, beyond measure.
Tony Evans comments: “Jesus doesn’t want you merely to possess eternal life but also to possess the full experience of life. Following the shepherd leads to blessing and joy and a growing experience of eternal life. It allows him to rebuke and reverse the enemy’s attempts at blocking the blessings, purpose, and spiritual fulfillment God has for your life.”1
–Jesus came to set us free.
Sin no longer has the hold it once did. But that’s not all. Neither does worry, anxiety, other people’s opinions of us, or difficult situations.
When I was a little girl, I used to carry my burdens to my mother. I went through a time when I had insomnia so I would call for her and she would come to me, sit on the edge of my bed and calm my anxious thoughts by redirecting them to the good and pleasant things in my life.
Now I run to Jesus. He corrects my thinking through His Word and as I apply it, I experience its validity. In obedience I also abide in Him which gives me the ability to bear fruit.
During one of our discussions of God’s Word, my husband, Terry, said that when people realize Jesus only has the best for them, they begin to do what He says. “That’s because we always do what is best for us,” he stated.
Satan tells us we are free when we go our own way, but that is the exact opposite of freedom. In obedience to Jesus Christ, we walk with confidence, free from worry about the outcome.
–Jesus came to give us hope and a future.
We will one day see Jesus face to face, but eternal life begins when our spirit comes alive and we experience the second birth. (John chapter 3)
Scripture tells us “This is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3 ESV
Our future is now, each moment we have here on this earth to fellowship with God, learn His ways, glorify Him as we are transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
No matter what happens in life, we are secure in our salvation. Also, we can be assured that God is revealed in the Bible, and He can be our refuge, our comforter, our sustainer, our conqueror, and our strength.
But we need to seek Him in all these capacities. For example, when we make God our refuge, He becomes our refuge. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 ESV
–Jesus came so we can be the masterpiece he envisions.
We are masterfully created. I am not talking about how our body works (although amazing), but our individual talent, skills, personality traits, viewpoint, and spiritual insight. All that makes us unique, one of a kind.
In Christ, we become the person God envisioned, fit for the Master’s use. Ephesian 2:10 explains— “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
We become the masterpiece God created through many methods. God uses the circumstances we go through to hone us into the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-29). He gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth (John 16:13-14).
I have discovered that what is being chipped away is all that is me, not Him. This is anything that is self-absorbed.
My self-focus appears ever so readily. I wrote an announcement for the church bulletin about the upcoming women’s Bible study. When the bulletin was read, the person reading the copy stumbled over the sentence. Immediately, in my heart I prepared to defend my writing. Quickly the Holy Spirit convicted me of my less than gracious attitude. To blame the reader, rather than simply offering to redo the copy, did not reflect Christ-like beauty.
My list of reasons to rejoice is very short compared to what it might be. I hope you will join me and create a list of your own, based on Jesus Christ and all that He has done for us. This is the joy of Christmas that can never be taken, not even by Satan.
1-What steals your joy at Christmas?
2-Do you rely on the world to bring you the joy of Christmas? If so, how? If not, how do you prevent the world from encroaching?
**Share in the comments!
1-“The Tony Evans Bible Commentary, Advancing God’s Kingdom Agenda” published by Holman Bible Publishers Nashville, Tennessee.