“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
Christmas is here! Is your heart ready? Christmas is all about the heart. Robert Hughes says, “Christmas began in the heart of God. It is complete only when it reaches the heart of man.” As Christmas approaches, we all need to examine our hearts to see if what began in the heart of God has reached our hearts.
I encourage you to remember our six-part devotional series, Is it Real?, from this summer. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” And so, have you passed the test? Is Jesus really in your heart? God left the confines of heaven and entered time and space as a man, so that He, the creator of the universe, might live within our hearts.
Paul writes in Romans 8:9, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” This is what it means to be a Christian—the Spirit of Christ lives in you. It is only then that you can call out to God, “Father!”
Paul continues in Romans 8:15-16, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” This is so important. Make sure that you understand this. Becoming a child of God, which is what it means to be a Christian, does not happen because one goes to church, or because one has been baptized, or because one has recited the Apostle’s Creed. Nor does salvation come to those who are good. Salvation is a gift. It is a gift that we cannot earn. The gift of eternal life is freely given (Ephesians 2:8-9) to those who simply believe in Jesus and receive Him into their hearts by faith (John 1:12). This is why Jesus was given to the world. He is the greatest gift that has ever been given. “For God so loved the world that He gave…”
This Christmas, if you want to experience the true meaning of Christmas along with the peace of God, then you must receive Jesus into your heart by faith. Then you will know that God’s Spirit lives in you when you hear His voice say, “You are my child.” This is how you pass the test. You must hear His voice. Have you heard Him speaking to you through His Word or by His Spirit within you?
“You can never truly enjoy Christmas until you can look up into the Father’s face and tell him you have received his Christmas gift.”—John R. Rice (late 19th Century)
“Christmas is based on an exchange of gifts: the gift of God to man—his Son; and the gift of man to God—when we first give ourselves to God.”—Vance Havner (early 20th Century)
This is what Christmas is all about! I hope and pray you HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!