How often do you think about your satisfaction? Your comfort? Your security? The answer is probably somewhere along the lines of “almost every moment of every day.”
Because we are human and we have a worldly mindset, it’s a lot easier to get caught up in the moment- especially during the holidays. Most of us are booking travel, buying presents, and planning PTO. This also usually includes days of brooding about our family.
“I really don’t want to spend the holidays with his mother-in-law.”
“Every year Aunt Carol asks me when I’m going to get married and have children.”
“Grandpa won’t be awake long enough for me to even carry on a conversation.”
“All mom and dad will do is argue, they won’t even ask about how school is going.”
“My brother will be on his phone and computer doing nothing but work the entire time.”
How many of those did you give a Baptist “AMEN!” to? These are only a few of the (very human) thoughts we have during the holiday season. But, do you notice a pattern in any of these? They all reflect our discomfort due to the actions of someone else in our life.
Now, I’ll ask another series of questions. How often do you think of eternity? How often do you think about your satisfaction, your comfort, and your security in light of eternity? Do your thoughts, actions, and reactions to trials and tribulations reflect what you believe God’s word says about how to handle each of them?
Knowing we aren’t the first or the last to struggle with patterns of this world allows us to focus more on the promise of eternity and less on what only gives us momentary satisfaction. Instant gratification isn’t only associated with items of monetary value. Most of the time it’s somewhere along the lines of getting the last word in an argument or feeling secure because you don’t struggle with a certain sin. And it’s a lot easier to bypass the ones closest to us, because “they’re family.” Usually with family we want to win. But we aren’t called to win because winning doesn’t coincide with eternity. We are called to “love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19
We are called to take the focus off of ourselves, put it on Christ, and love in light of how he loves. This usually looks like asking your brother, Aunt Carol, Grandpa, mom, dad and yes, even your mother-in-law, about things going on in their lives. We put the attention on them and the things they care about, showing sincere interest even when it’s the last thing we want to do.
Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
What a sweet reminder! When we focus on the grace and love God has shown us in Christ, we are able to treat, love, and forgive others. We lay down our self-righteousness and we are genuinely concerned with the ones who may be the hardest to love. It is an amazing feeling when we step outside of ourselves and remember the true reason for the season. That “…the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14
Pray that you would love like Jesus this year. Pray for a softened heart not only for yourself, but also for those you will spend the holidays with as well. Ask God for peace in the uncomfortable and the diligence to focus on Him and not yourself. Start a tradition of change and love this year.
From our family here at High Point to yours wherever you are, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!
"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." - Isaiah 9:6
Written by: Hannah Victoria Bewley