What do you find most frustrating about Christmas?
Without sounding like a Dickensian Scrooge this is my list:
1. The excess consumption of food;
2. The spending of money you don't have;
3. The endless wrapping of things which will in seconds be opened and the paper binned - if you are frugal and economical you could reuse the paper!;
4. The receipt of presents that you don't really need.
I think I am quite a contented person. My Christmas present list is usually non- existent and when asked I struggle to think of things I really need. Maybe this is because I am so well look after that I have very little need of anything. This is most likely true!
This whole idea of being content poses questions that we would be wise to ask every once in a while:
Am I satisfied with my life?
Is there meaning in my life that is bigger that merely maintaining my existence?
The bible suggests that we were not placed on this planet for our own pleasure! We are actually most satisfied when living life in the way God designed. Focusing on self is not the best way although it is our natural bias. Isaiah 43:21 and Revelation 4:11, in the bible, state these principles.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the best example of the right way to live. In fact He was the only person ever to live who lived up to the exacting and high standards of God as defined in the Bible, see Exodus 20 etc. In the biblical letter to the Hebrews He is described as 'holy... and undefiled'. BUT in addition to this He lived for the glory of his Father (read John 17:4) and for the good of the people He came into contact with (see Acts 10:38).
I think that you may agree that none of us can hope to reach the standards of perfection that are required of us in the bible. None of us live lives like Jesus did! That puts us in a difficult situation. The bible not only defines the unrelenting standard but it spells out the consequences of falling short of it. One of the most searching statements of the bible is 'for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God' add to this the consequence of sinning (wrongdoing) - 'the wages of sin is death' and the situation becomes impossible.
This is when the offer of forgiveness comes to the surface. God in the bible describes in numerous passages His intention to provide a solution, usually called salvation. One clear statement of truth is this 'Christ died for our sins'. In addition to this we read 'Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that might bring us to God'. In other words the death and resurrection (coming to life again) of Jesus satisfies the legal case against us for all our shortcomings.
How then do we benefit from such a provision? Is it automatic? Do I have to do something to enjoy it? The answer to both questions is no! The only requirement in the word of God is that we recognise and feel the need of forgiveness. When we get to the point were we see our danger and our inability to resolve the issue ourselves then we must turn to God. Leaving everything else behind we need to admit to God our need and cry to Him asking for mercy. The action on our part is 'believe on the Lord Jesus Christ'. That means trust Him, rest on Him and rely on Him as Saviour. The guaranteed response is 'you shall be saved'. Now this will sound crazy to you unless you are already a believer. If not pray and ask God to reveal your need of salvation to you. Your part is to simply believe what God says He will do when you call upon His name.
Finally for those who trust Jesus Christ, as Lord and Saviour, he gives us power to live differently. This is another subject but if you are interested email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will answer your questions to the best of my ability.
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