At some point this Christmas season, you're likely to be reminded that Jesus was born for Crucifixion.
While we shouldn't avoid the messy yet necessary message of the cross, we also cannot point so emphatically at the cross that we lose the full circle truth of why God really sent Jesus. Obtaining our salvation wasn't the end that Jesus was born to achieve, but only the means to a far greater end.
God desires relationship with us.
Self-centered, prideful, fearful human nature frustrates relationship. We often have difficulty coming to the cross, either believing salvation from sin is unnecessary because we're good enough, or we think our sin too great to make us worthy of saving. Once we bring our sin to the cross and receive God's forgiveness and salvation, we tend to gravitate toward a new set of extremes—legalism or license. Whether or not we achieve a measure of balance there, we may become so enamored with Christianity that we drift away from abiding with the Christ:
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."
~ Revelation 3:20 (NKJV)
These words are spoken to people who are already part of the church—not to the unsaved nonbelievers, but to the lukewarm believers who've forgotten to keep on inviting Jesus into their lives for relationship. The Great Commission isn't to simply get people to the cross. Our Master asks His disciples—those who have walked with Him, who have shared His death and His life—to bring others into the same relationship.
"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love... These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full."
~ Jesus, John 15:7,9 (NKJV)
God did not merely step into flesh so that He might one day be crucified. God actually became a Man. He lived with us as One of us. He suffered and wept with us, ate and laughed and had fellowship with us. He even died—with us and for us—so that we might experience His resurrection and live with Him, every single day of our lives.
God didn't save us from our sin for only our own sake, nor for only His sake. He saved us for each other, that He might have intimate, loving, "exceeding joy" relationship with us.
Our Father, please don't let us settle for too little of You. Please use Your Spirit and Your Word and Your people to fulfill in each of us Your purpose of relationship with us, that our "joy may be full," every single day of the year. Please grant us the pleasure and privilege of bringing You joy.
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Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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