Have you fully embraced the child from Bethlehem? Have you fully embraced the Lord Jesus? Christmas is such a wonderful and amazing time of year in so many ways, and for so many reasons.
Those who most fully embrace Christmas, however have fully embraced what most humans often try to deny. The gift of Jesus is not a last minute gift idea, or your average stocking stuffer mixed in among other items. The gift of Jesus is the one gift we simply cannot live without. In the O Come Let Us Adore Him devo from Paul David Tripp, he says on December 20 meditation, “Because sin has tragically infected all of us, the presence, work and grace of that baby in the manger is what we all need.”
Our natural reaction is most often the attempt to defend ourselves and our actions in pride. We do not easily humble ourselves and admit, “I am a sinful mess, and my heart is far more devious than I had ever imagined.” Instead we play along with the idea that we are wiser, stronger, and more righteous and noble than we truly are.
Have you ever been confronted over your sin, or a certain behavior (how you treated or reacted to a loved one?)? It is easy to let our little lawyer come out and give every reason and excuse we were justified in our behavior. Have you ever said, “You are right. I am so sorry for my unloving and ungodly response. Truthfully, I have sin in my heart that causes me to lash out in such wicked ways, and I am capable of far worse. I truly need forgiveness and God’s grace to help and heal me!”
Tripp says, “So what we all need to confess is that denying our need for grace is more natural for us than confessing our need for grace.” Go back and read that again. That sentence describes the crux of our problem as humans – strong willed, independent, prideful, and deeply selfish in ways that keep us self-dependent instead of fully relying on God’s mercy and grace.
Four points Tripp points out that reveal our condition:
- We tend to minimize, rationalize, and often excuse our sin. We easily convince ourselves that it is not that bad. After all, none of us perfect, right? Yes, that is right, but it is far deeper than not being perfect. We are soul sick with the disease of sin.
- We tend to doubt the wisdom of God’s Word and Law. We all mount arguments as to why certain commands of scripture are not relevant for us. “After all, I love this person so our sexual relationship outside of marriage is a good and blessed thing.” “I had every right to be angry and say those things to him due to his neglect of me.” “She deserved it! I do not feel bad because she had it coming.” We make excuses for why our “wisdom” is better than God’s and why we did not obey his word.
- We tend to be more concerned with the sins and faults of others more than our own. It is so much easier to see the sin of another person rather than our own. We can detect their pride, selfishness, bitterness, materialism and greed. And the whole time, we are blind to some of these same issues in our lives. Don’t we? Isn’t amazing at how skilled we can be at this at times?
- We tend to deny what is in our hearts. We can admit that have “sins” that we sometimes commit, but it is another issue to admit that we have a spiritual heart disease that is killing us. In the physical and natural realm, it is one thing to admit that I am dealing with some fatigue, lethargy and a low grade temperature for days on end. We can acknowledge and treat the symptoms. It is quite different to admit that my “symptoms” are the result of an aggressive cancerous tumor that is living and active inside of me. When I get to this point, I am less concerned with these symptoms and want to discover how to cut out the cancer. Let’s get to the source. Sins are acts that we commit because of the spiritual cancer of SIN dwelling in me. I have a fatal “heart disease” that is wreaking havoc in my life – “The heart is wicked and deceitful above all else, who can know it” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Merry Christmas my friend! You are far worse and more sinful than you have ever imagined. You are not as good as you think you are. You are welcome! For if we can see the depth our sin, we can fully discover the riches of his mercy and grace. Only when our sin breaks our hearts can the gift of Jesus fully revive and excite our hearts. Only when we see how sick we are can Christmas offer us the hope of healing and the cure for our sinful condition. o wretched man that I am, but thanks be to God for the gift and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh how I need Him, and how I love Him!
Father, I love a good gift but rarely have I considered how much I deeply need the gift of salvation in and through Jesus Christ. I want to fully embrace the grace of the Lord Jesus. I confess that I easily deny my need for grace instead of confessing my need for grace. Father, I want to stop blaming others and seeing their faults instead of dealing with my own heart. I want to stop making excuses and minimizing my sin. I want to reject my “foolish wisdom” that allows me to think that I am exempt from portions of your Word and commandments. Lord, I do not want to deny what is in my heart. I am capable of far worse than I want to admit. God, I am sick with sin corrupted by a vile heart disease that I cannot contain. There is a spiritual cancer that will keep slowly spread unless you intervene.
Father, I entrust myself to you today – the Great Physician. I need your Healing power of forgiveness and grace. I need heart surgery, and I ask you to open up my chest and take out the heart of stone that is hard, dull and dead… I want a new heart. I need a new heart. I ask you to give me a heart of flesh as you promised in Ezekiel – a heart that is alive, tender, sensitive to the Spirit and needs of others. I need healing to contain the cancerous growth and spread of sin in my life. Cut it out Lord. Deal with the root of sin that causes me to live selfish and self centered while putting you off to the side.
I am thankful that Christmas is a gift that meets me in my need. Lord Jesus, thank you for salvation, for forgiveness, for mercy and grace. Lord thank you for dealing with the root of my sin. I ask you to be Lord and ruler of me that I might no longer be ruled by the Sin within me. You Jesus bring my heart to life. You bring me new life, hope, and healing from the bondage of the curse. In seeing my brokeness of heart, I am more excited than ever for you revive my heart. Come Holy Spirit!!!! in Jesus name. Amen!