Day Writing: There will be problems
December 21, 2017
"There will be problems," the pastor on the tv said last Sunday. "You'll likely want this information to share with someone between now and Christmas," he continued.
This was stated toward the end of his sermon, but it struck me how true those words are in the present for us. It seems that all around us people we know and love are struggling. They are facing issues in business, in relationships, with drought, fire or both, with their health, and the list goes on. Big issues. Life changing, time consuming, make it or break it decisions. Our personal "problems" have been put in perspective multiple times over the past year as we've looked around at those close to us.
What the pastor said next was paramount. He explained that Jesus knowingly lowered himself to the human experience, starting with his humble birth at Christmas, out of His love for us. From that time until his death he experienced every single thing we will face in life, as a human, and He went through it perfectly. There is no feeling or situation where we cannot look to Jesus and the Bible for a perfect example, including how to help others when they are suffering. Upon the end of his days on earth, Jesus died on the cross for all the times we will each fall short. Because of his sacrifice, we will be raised to the level of angels, if we repent and turn our lives over to him.
What a miraculous and perfect message for the Christmas time of year.
But, what about the meantime, as we see others facing problems? There are two choices in every situation; To work for God or for the devil. I think when asked whose work we are doing, most, or at least my, knee jerk reaction is to say that of course I am doing God's work within the lives of those around me. But, if I'm being honest with myself, I slip over to the devil's side more often than I like to admit when I am presented with someone else's problem.
It's easy to do the devil's work; Work that is like the roaring of a lion, prowling around looking for what it may devour as Peter put it. It's self-serving, gossipy, pot-stirring work that often has a hum of excitement and potential reaction to it. It's buying into society's self-centered mindset, giving up for no legitimate reason, or encouraging others to do the same. It's shrugging your shoulders and not caring in situations when you ought to care a whole lot. Turning minor things into massive problems, or vice versa. It is tearing down what is good and/or building up what is false. Oftentimes it's laziness. No, his work is not always what we, or at least I, consider the "big" bad things – obvious lying, cheating, promiscuity and stealing. He does a lot more work in subtle undertones, through people who are indifferent or even well meaning but not girding their minds and mouths.
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Christ's birth is the perfect time to consider that while He allows us the choice, he lowered himself to the human experience so we can be saved in addition to continuing His work during our time on earth. One of the best gifts we can give this holiday season is to set our hearts and minds on filling other's lives with God's light and loving kindness while striving to eliminate being a personal deliverer of the devil's darkness. As we have been told, there will be problems, even at Christmastime. But, we are called to be of good cheer, because our problems are in the world, and Jesus overcame the world, starting with his birth in a manger on Christmas day.