As I start to write, I am finishing a discussion with my husband about the errands we need to run, the gifts we still need to get, and the food to fulfill our tradition of the Christmas feast.
My thoughts seem to follow the pattern of last night’s rain and flashing light.
One minute I think of the to-do list ahead to create family memories. Flash. I wonder what Jesus would want for His birthday. Flash. What order should I make my stops today? Flash. If Jesus is the reason for this season, shouldn’t I be still and focus on Him?
Before I head out, I want to share my thoughts on my birthday present to Jesus.
He came, lived, and died for us. Along the way, He left an example of who we should strive to be in our lives. For His birthday, I know He isn’t expecting a single one of us to live up to His example. But wouldn’t it honor Him if we tried? If we accepted the mercy and grace in advance when we don’t live up to the perfect standard, yet we take each step forward, heart first, in an effort to glorify our God and thank Him for His sacrifice?
This isn’t a business post, but being a better human and sharing the gospel through our actions and lives, is as applicable in business as in every part of life. In many ways I have fallen short in the past year of living up to the name “disciple.” Carrying my cloak of God’s mercy and grace, I will persevere and strive in the new year in celebration of the birth, death and resurrection of my Savior Jesus Christ.
My work is a series of conversations and some themes have come to the surface frequently of late:
Jesus tells us explicitly that we are to forgive. When asked how often, His response was 7 x 77 times. That is a lot of forgiveness and it isn’t surrounded by verses of protect yourself first or make sure you are never put in situations to be hurt to begin with. I believe wholeheartedly that the only way we can have the will to forgive as Jesus forgave is to:
- Do it for Him, not ourselves or the offender.
- Trust that Jesus will make us okay even if we do get hurt again.
- Remember that we live to glorify Him and our peace and joy are in that.
I am not sure if it is possible in our human strength to forgive like Jesus. But, I have learned that this is one of the weaknesses in me that He works through. I can give you many reasons from a psychology standpoint that forgiving is good for us too. It is why Jesus guides us in this direction. However, in this post, and for Jesus’ birthday, I want to be better at forgiveness to show that I trust Him, and that I know I will be okay no matter what, because He says so.
St. Paul is the poster child for perseverance. I think the main theme in looking at Paul’s life is that He always looked forward to eternity not backwards at His sin or shortcoming. Yes, he shared with us his past so we would know that our past is no excuse for not moving into a future of faith, sacrifice, and love.
I believe it is pre-told that we will fall, take steps backward, and yes, even have our epiphinies of what it means to live for Christ. However, I also believe that each day is a new day. We are not able to earn salvation or work our way into good graces. But we are called to persevere and share the gospel and glorify God in all we do. It is our purpose.
So even if I was not all that glorifying to Him yesterday, I will try again today and tomorrow. I won’t let my shortcomings defeat me. Satan wants that. Satan will tell us we have already blown it and that we may as well give up the fight.
That is the lie from hell. Paul kept moving forward even with the thorn in his side.
If you messed up yesterday, I want to encourage you, it is even more glorifying to God for us to try even harder tomorrow. Not because we get points, just because we love Him.
You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to know that the best birthday present Jesus could get would be for all of His children to love one another as He has loved us.
I think my biggest regret here is that I love out of convenience. What I mean is that I truly do love those in front of me or who come to me. What I don’t do very well is seek out those who need the love of Christ, or the love of Christ’s people, nearly enough.
In reaction to people in my life, whether out of relationships or need, I try to love with an open heart. I also try to love as a verb…to be loving.
But to love like Jesus, I think I am also called to seek out those who may need love…find them…be proactive.
Happy Birthday, Jesus
Lord, Your birth is mankind’s salvation. We can never give enough in return and thankfully You don’t require it. But we are thankful. Your children love You and in accordance with the theme of the book of James, we want to serve You out of our love. We know that the best way to serve You is to be your disciple.
My prayer is that I can again die to self and put Your ways first. I pray that I can forgive like you, persevere through my humanity, and love Your people as you would. In Jesus name!
Happy Birthday, Jesus and thank you for being the true reason for our celebration every day of the year.
Dean Packham says
Very thought-provoking, Sue. Thanks
George A. says
25th Dec 2015
Thank you for this inspiring post Sue. It really spoke to me.