Each of our lives is a chapter in the great book being written by Jesus Himself. The book details our use of the talents and gifts God gave us. What’s always humbled me about all this is that God didn’t have to create us or reveal Himself to us but did it for no other reason than He wanted to.
Sometimes we get so busy doing things, even good things, that we fail to consider the motivation behind what we are doing. Is it what God wants us to do and is it love and faith that drives it? Are they good deeds or dead works? And, remembering that all of our stories are part of the great book being written by God.
With this in mind let us consider for a moment the words of John the Baptist where he says “He (Jesus) must become greater; and I must become less”, John 3: 30 NIV. For me, this verse is fleshed out in just about every biblical character in both the new and old Testaments from Abraham to Moses to David to Peter to Paul and on and on.
Take Joseph and Mary for example. Out of nowhere they enter God’s revelation with Joseph being instructed “to take Mary home as your wife because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit”, Matthew 1: 20. Joseph did exactly what the angel instructed him to do and a few months later the Virgin Mary gave birth to the Christ child in Bethlehem. After the birth, Joseph is told in a dream to take the child and Mary to Egypt to protect them from the murderous King Herod which he obediently did until it was safe for them to return home. He’s last heard about when Jesus is 12 years old and “accidentally” left behind in Jerusalem after celebrating the Festival of the Passover as Mary and Joseph are returning to Nazareth. Joseph enters history for a short time, submits to God’s will for his life, and then silently seems to disappear.
But does he disappear or does his chapter in the great book impact every subsequent chapter? And isn’t that the challenge in all of our lives, being born, then submitting or refusing to submit (disobeying) to God’s call on our lives. Isn’t that the one question all of us born of woman must answer, will we or won’t we submit to the circumstances of life that we find ourselves in? Even Jesus Himself, the second person of the Trinity, the same in substance and equal in power and glory with God the Father and God the Spirit, only and always did what the Father was doing. And, “For the joy set before Him”, Heb. 12: 2, kept the law on our behalf and died on the cross for our sins. The cross wasn’t a second option in human history but the very reason Jesus came to planet earth and part of God the Father’s original plan.
Submission is a foul word in our equality, device-driven culture yet one of the central themes of the Bible and perfectly modeled by the Lord Jesus Himself who “although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”, Php. 2: 6-8, NASB.
The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever according to the shorter catechism found in The Westminster Confession of Faith. We all have “control issues” and want our own way. One of the ways we glorify God is by setting aside our agenda/priorities and focusing on His. In other words, turning control of our lives over to Him which John the Baptist and Joseph modeled well for us. The Christmas message to me this year is Jesus must become greater and we must become less in every area of our lives and in everything we do and say because, if we’re not careful, we’ll forget that our chapters are still being written and that the focus of the book is God’s glory, not ours.
Here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Focused New Year