Monday, November 30, 2009

Sometimes We Have It Easy

Yes, sometimes we have it easy and we just don't realize it.

I was reading in Philippians this morning and came upon one of my favorite verses. Paul was encouraging the church in Philippi to be anxious for nothing, to let their gentle spirit be known to all men, to let the peace of God guard their hearts and then he said, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." (4:8)

Wow...that's quite a list - true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent and worthy of praise. If I asked you to name something that fit all these categories to set your mind on, what would you say? Of course there is really only one answer - Jesus. He alone is worthy of praise. "...keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth..." (Colossians 3:1,2) The instruction to set our minds on Christ is not a new one from Paul and I think its the key to the Christian walk. If we set our minds, or dwell, on Christ, our feelings and our actions will be directly affected.

So, this holiday season, how hard is it to dwell on Christ? Do we get caught up in Christmas shopping, decorating, baking and addressing Christmas cards that we don't have time to dwell on Christ? I know it sounds ridiculous, but if we are truthful, the weeks in between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be some of the most hectic and stress-filled of the whole year. It seems that we dwell in List-land, or in Preparation-ville, or in How-Do-I-Keep-Everyone-Happy-This-Year Town instead of dwelling in Christ.

Well, might I suggest that of the whole year this should be the easiest time to dwell in Christ? Here's why: He's everywhere you go. Try this - go to the mall and do an hour or two of shopping. When you get back into your car, before turning on the engine, just sit quietly and listen to what is playing in your head. It should be Christmas music. Joy to the World. O Come All Ye Faithful. Possibly even Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. The radio, the stores, the television - they are all filled with Christmas music and remember gals, there is no Christmas without Christ! So even if it is a secular song, let your mind drift to the Lord - think about His incarnation, His sinless life, His selfless sacrifice, His resurrection and His ascension. Without those things, December would simply be another February, or June, or October.

But in this crazy, lost world, a whole month out of the year is dedicated to remembering Jesus Christ! Dave and I went out for a drive the other day and passed a house whose lawn was covered with secular Christmas decorations. He turned to me and asked, "Isn't it strange that they celebrate Christmas without Christ?" It really makes no sense whatsoever! So as you drive and see the lights, let your mind see Jesus. As you hear the music, thank the Lord for the cross. As you wrap the gifts, remember the most precious gift of all. Gals - take advantage of this wonderful season, where everywhere you go points to Christ!

Sometimes we have it so easy and we miss it...let's not miss it this year.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of your Son. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for giving us a month to immerse ourselves in Your story, Your sovereignty and Your grace. May we develop a habit during the next five weeks that continues on throughout the next year, of dwelling on Christ who is truly honorable, truthful, right, pure and lovely, of good repute, excellent and completely and utterly worthy of praise. Thank you for making it so easy for us to dwell here...


  1. Have you ever read Martyn LLoyd-Jones, Kristen? I just started his five book series on his studies in 1 Jn. I have had them on my shelf for years and finally picked the first one up last night. I've been missing out! (I thought he would be good since John MacArthur refers to him a lot in his commentaries.) I thought his remarks on joy would go well with your post...

    "Joy is something very deep and profound, something that affects the whole and entire personality. In other words it comes to this; there is only one thing that can give true joy and that is a contemplation of the Lord Jesus Christ. He satisfies my mind; He satisfies my emotions; He satisfies my every desire. He and His great salvation include the whole personality and nothing less, and in Him I am complete. Joy, in other words, is the response and the reaction to a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ."

  2. Thank you, Kathy. I haven't read him, but I think Dave has. Josh preached on Sunday and taught that true joy comes from a personal relationship with Christ. He would have liked this quote for his sermon...thanks again for sharing!

  3. I get frustrated during the season over the lack of Jesus. We have changed how we decorate and celebrate to highlight God and not the commercialism. I am thankful, so very thankful that even though those words of "gift" and "salvation" have been used many times, their meaning for us is one that carries true joy. Ba Humbug?

  4. Joy is something that I am really trying to wrap my mind around. Have been for a few years. I know it is deeper than any human explanation, because God keeps giving me little glimpses of it that just entice me to seek him more. I am reading Hebrews this month, for myself in the morning, and at night with the kids. Yesterday Hebrews 3:1-2 stuck out to me in relation to this blog, and the month of December (prepping for Christmas). What I marked was "consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him...". And again today, in Hebrews 12, I was struck by the wording. Verse 12:3 reminds us to "Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself." And that was following verse 12:2 where we are to be running the race, "looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY that was set before him (JOY? Is he referring to purchasing us as his joy?) endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

    Wow! If I am getting what this JOY is about, it is that Jesus, at the ultimate price, considered it worthwhile to please his Father by dying for all my sins so I could be with him for eternity! I cannot even begin to fathom the kind of Joy that was set before him, so that he would endure what he did. So, I'm thinking from this, that we really do get joy by persevering through suffering with our eyes on Christ. CONSIDERING HIM.

    Closing thought - Hebrews 12:28-29, "Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

    THAT is what Christmas is about, and I know what you mean about the commercialism being a frustration smll voice, I don't enjoy it either, but maybe it serves to highlight to some the emptiness of the earthly live, and we can pray that it causes others to seek the true meaning. In the meantime, Heb. 12:14, "Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." And let's pray for those with such emptiness as we rejoice in our unshakable kingdom! Celebrate Jesus!

  5. Sorry I'm so wordy! I should have broken those thoughts up a bit :-)