Finding the Greatest Gift of All in The Gospel
- Monday, December 21, 2009
Christmas turns our attention to gifts like no other season. We think about giving just the right gift to the people we love; we savor the thrill of receiving gifts from family and friends. And in the midst of all the activity, we try to stop long enough to remind ourselves of why we're celebrating with gifts in the first place: it's Jesus' birthday. This time of year just sings with reminder after reminder of the time when God Himself came down to our planet in the flesh.
The birth of Christ, as humble and great as it was, made even greater gifts possible -- spiritual gifts such as grace, mercy, forgiveness, salvation, transformation, freedom, peace, and joy. Yet even these spiritual gifts pale in comparison to the ultimate gift -- God Himself.
Here's how we find the greatest gift of all in the Gospel:
Understand that nothing is truly good unless it leads to God. Realize that God is the source of all goodness, and all the good gifts He gives must help you connect to Him if they are to bring true goodness to your life. Remember that only God makes the good news good.
Take the focus off yourself and place it on God. Honestly examine what makes you feel happy. Is it the affirmation of God lavishing gifts on you? Is it a sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing you're worth God's attention? Know that your good feelings should be rooted in God's worth, not your own. Recognize that true joy can only come in the way that God designed it - from knowing and celebrating Him. Understand that the point of the Gospel isn't just to give you a variety of powerful gifts. It's to help you see and savor God's glory. He is the true treasure.
Communicate what salvation really means. Think about whether or not you'd be truly fulfilled in heaven if God weren't there with you. Realize that no amount of pleasurable experiences can make up for the lack of His presence. Whenever you present the Gospel message to others, don't focus on its power to help them avoid the pain of hell or to get into a heaven full of privileges. Instead, emphasize what's most important about salvation. Let people know that salvation enables them to live with their Creator and enjoy His presence forever. Don't say, "Salvation is great!" Say, "God is great!" because His saving love is the gift of Himself. He is the Gospel. Understand that the Gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it's a way to get people to God. Know that if you don't desire God above all other things, than you haven't yet truly believed or obeyed the Gospel.
Let the Gospel help you see God's image. Rejoice that, although you don't have any video recordings of Jesus from when He walked the earth as God incarnate, you can see Him when you let the Gospel message and the Holy Spirit's affirmation of that message draw you closer to Him. As you learn more about Jesus in the Gospel, pray to see His face more clearly and understand the image of His glory more fully.
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