That I might know Him and the power of His resurrection
-Philippians 3: 10
It is the season of Advent again, and with this comes the busyness of Christmas time. This means long lists of gifts to buy and things to do. Far too often, this distracts us from what we ought to be doing during this time—beholding the glory of Christ.
The season of Advent is about God who became flesh, emptied His glory, and perfectly obeyed the father. This is one of the most essential focal points of Scripture, yet how are we preparing our hearts for Him during this season? In the midst of this Christmas season, are we letting our hearts dwell on the person of Christ?
While I was considering this question for myself one morning, I was struck with three questions that were worth asking myself. It’s easy for me to be distracted and to get carried away with worries that are not edifying; however, these questions, in sum, reveal three hard spiritual truths that I have been wrestling with this semester. The Lord has been faithful to reveal these to me, and I hope that by sharing them you are able to refocus your heart as well. I pray that in this season, we may be able to truly focus on the incarnation of Christ and his future glory, and I hope that this will change our hearts and bring us more into obedience and holiness.
Am I Willing?
This is a question that has been on my mind throughout the semester. I ask myself, am I willing to give up all for the sake of Christ? Do I truly believe He is better than anything this world can offer?
Alongside this question a passage from 2 Samuel comes to my mind. In this passage, David builds an Altar to the Lord as the Lord had commanded him. However, in order to build an altar, David is required to buy the threshing floor. David insists on paying the full price for the threshing floor as he says: “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that which costs me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24).
Here we see an example of obedience that I hope is inspiring to you. If we truly believe that Christ is worthier than all else than we should be willing to give up all for the sake of obeying Christ. He is more worthy than anything this world could offer us. He is better than any worldly pleasure.
George Whitefiled, in his sermon titled Contemplating Christmas, describes this when he states that, “you can never [be in] want when the love of the Lord Jesus Christ is the subject. So let Jesus be the subject.”
Beholding the glory of Christ is better than anything else we could ask for or want, and being satisfied in the love of our Father is all we need. This is because we were created for worship, and we were made to find our delight in Him and Him alone.
David says in one of the final Psalms,, “You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:16). He is all we need. His love is satisfying of our every desire. But do we believe this? May we rest in this truth and be willing to give up all we have in obedience to Christ.
Am I Longing?
Not only should we ask ourselves if we’re willing, but are we longing? Are we longing for the day of Christ’s return? Or are we finding our satisfaction in the pleasures of this world? A passage in Romans 8 comes to my mind when I think about this:
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
The good things of this world and the beauty of His creation are nothing in comparison to the glory of Christ that will be revealed to us one day. Everything in this life that is good is a shadow of what is to come if we are reconciled to God through Christ Jesus our Savior.
In order to behold Christ and His incarnation we need to believe this. Through Christ, all things are being made new, and this is the hope that we have as believers: we are new creations. The hope we have is revealed to us in the transformation of ourselves, and it is a glimpse of what is to come. One day, we will stand before God, guiltless and clothed fully in His righteousness. One day, we will not struggle with our sin or shame anymore, and we will be fully equipped and happy to glorify God eternally. This is what we have hope in and our hope is anchored in the incarnation of Christ and His work on the cross.
Am I Ready?
And lastly, am I ready for Christ’s return? Am I actively pursuing holiness in my life? This is a question we must ask ourselves as believers every day. This is not an easy question for me, or anyone, as we so easily see our failures. I so easily see my spiritual laziness and areas in my life that I am not laying before the Lord.
Recently, I have been reading Disciplines of Grace by Jerry Bridges and it has been eye opening to understand both the pursuit of holiness yet the dependence on Christ in that very pursuit. Bridges describes man’s primary purpose to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. In order to do this, He writes:
The most important dimension [of glorifying God and enjoying Him] is our wholehearted obedience: our desire to obey Him with all our heart, soul, and mind.
This is how we glorify God, this is how we as believers can find satisfaction in Christ and Christ alone. I pray that we can be filled with obedience to Christ, and a willingness to pursue righteousness. Not because righteousness is what we rely on for salvation, but because our holiness gives glory to the name of God. Ultimately, this is for the act of bringing glory to the father.
May we lay down all we have before our Savior Jesus Christ. For he is more worthy than anything else in this world. Let’s be willing to sing the lyrics of Crown Him with genuine hearts:
It’s not my life to live
It’s not my song to sing
All I have is His
For all eternity
It’s not my righteousness
It’s not my faithfulness
All I have is His
For all eternity
And we will
Crown Him, crown Him
King of glory
Crown Him, crown Him
Lord of all.
Let us behold Christ and the love of our Father this Christmas season. May we be willing to give up all we have, may we long for the return of Christ, and may we prepare for His return through our pursuit of holiness. All other priorities fail in comparison to recognizing the goodness and glory of Christ. We will fail in our willingness, longing and readiness for Christ, but let us fix our eyes on the One who meets us in our failures and is able to keep us from stumbling. In our failures, His righteousness continues to cover us.