Two things before I jump into the Word and feast on the Gospel.
First, it feels so good to be free, even from the subtle chains that used to bind us. I'm talking about the unnecessary importance we give to the Holidays - Christmas and New Year.
I've noticed this year that I've lost that enthusiasm, that 'Christmas spirit' or the 'Holiday spirit'. While this may sound like I've turned into a Scrooge, I have, in fact, given our Father even more glory in this, because of how His Spirit continues to transform me. Looking back, it was a two-step process -
(1) He caused me to look away from focusing on what I lost. Not so long ago, I was clearly distressed and pressured, of all things, to make Christmas and New Year's significant. Under the tirade of reaching out and in the name of 'evangelism' I wracked my mind to come up with a quotable quote, at the right time - all, I admit, for the Like. For the Attention.
I may never have been free from this had it not been for God (2) placing my focus on what, rather, Who I had - and who I had was Christ alive in me. My Satisfaction and my good Favor who was with me and will always be with me, never fading, whether it be on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or the day after Christmas, which I used to think was so sad in my younger years.
Repeat the same process for New Year's. I mean, I did post, and it got a lot of attention, and I felt happy about it, but it was not the absolute source of my Joy. In hindsight, I actually took more pictures, spent more time with friends, made more memories, under the influence of knowing that Christ is alive in me, and that I am alive in Christ. The peace is real, people. The Prince of Peace is Faithful and True.
Before moving on, I feel I should state a quote which literally changed my life:
'Christians should be the most nuanced of cultural observers, trashing virtually nothing, and praising virtually nothing.'
Second thought - That was such a timely word that Pastor Oscar shared last Sunday. Simply put, we ought to place Extreme Focus on Christ, for by Him we are brought to appreciating Extreme Favor by God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit... I'm not entirely sure I remember the third Extreme, but I will say that by Extreme Focus, we appreciate Extreme Favor, and we practice Extreme Freedom.
We are free from fretting about how we are taken care of and why we are loved. We are free from second-guessing ourselves and if God is happy with what we do or not. We are kept and preserved, and therefore free from fear of loss and worry about tomorrow. We are free from sin, and free to live, as the old song would say, for Christ.
And what is it to live for Christ? As Christ gave everything up for us to have everything, we are directed, inspired, to live, and to live abundant. We are set free from living for ourselves and our own interests, to a more beautiful and excellent way - to live for others.
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26