“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
The God that created the universe, fashioned the stars.
He was willing to become a small, defenceless, vulnerable, weak and probably crying, baby.
He wasn’t born a magnificent palace as he deserved, but amongst the animals in a shed.
The first people to see him were shepherds – not exactly a King’s welcome.
He was to grow up and be perfect.
In his ministry he made lame, walk; the blind, see; the dead, come to life.
He came alongside the poor, the sick, the troubled, the rejected and the lowest of society.
He did not condemn them but showed them love.
Then these people, fuelled by the religious leaders of the time, demanded his perfect, sinless life be ended.
He was beaten, mocked and humiliated.
He given a crown. Of thorns.
He was nailed to a cross.
He suffered, slowly dying through suffocation.
And then this man, the Son of Man, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Christ, the Promised One, the Prince of Peace; breathed his last.
He was killed.
And in that moment the father in heaven could not look at him.
Because he took all our sin, what we have done, what we will do, upon himself.
And he died with it.
A perfect sacrifice.
A sacrifice so that we can be clean and sinless before God.
Because he loves us so unconditionally, more than we can even comprehend.
He could not bear to leave us in darkness to rot and die in our sin.
So he made a way.
That way started on Christmas Day, with a defenceless, vulnerable and weak, little baby.
I don’t know about you but when I think about this I just get excited. I want to laugh, I want to cry, I want to shout from the rooftops how amazing this is. But most of all, I can’t do anything else but love God back. So I devote my life to serving him.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
This Christmas, if you’re a Christian, please don’t forget what you are celebrating; it’s just so incredible that letting everything getting on top of Christ is not worth it.
If you’re not a Christian, think on how incredible this news is! God is motivated by love and wants to meet with you and show it to you. He’s done all the work, he just wants to enter a relationship with you. Yes, huge powerful God wants to be in a relationship with you.
Merry Christmas to all and God bless you.
So last week I posted a reaction to Bristol CU’s decision over women speakers (they were slightly liberalising their previous policy of not allowing them at all to certain, limited setting). I came out in full defence of their decision, despite the fact I’m an egalitarian. Their “u-turn” to allow women speakers in all CU settings did actually make me happier (assuming they didn’t take it because of the pressure they were under). But I want to concede that I probably didn’t have the full insight into the situation and I was challenged by comments and other blogs I read. So I asked around a bit in my CU and found that although there is a large complementarian presence there, a lot of them wouldn’t have a problem with women speakers at CU because their beliefs mainly apply to leadership rather than preaching, and generally only in a church setting. So I was sort of wrong. I still hold to the principle of my argument though; I still think it is a valid decision for a CU to take if they feel that is the best way to retain unity. But I’m not perfect, by any stretch.
Today, I want to confess something I really struggle with, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Okay first to say what I’m referring to and why it’s a problem. I take pride in my academic work. I put the effort in and I get good marks, great! This is fine, I think, as long as I don’t start boasting to others about it and put myself above other people because of it. But I know that this isn’t of eternal importance. When I serve God I know it is much more important than any of my personal achievements. But this service isn’t what gives me salvation. It’s when I think about the fact that there’s a God so huge and powerful who created the universe and everything in it. And that he cared about and loved me so much that he was willing to come to this earth as one of us and suffer and die in my place so that I could have a relationship and eternal life with him. I can’t do nothing. I have to live my life serving him.
All good so far, right?
Well, yes. Except in my head I have a habit listing all the things I do at church, at CU and other situations where I serve. I start hoping that this person or group of people noticed that I did this or start imagining conversations where people are saying how great I am because what I do. I wonder if I have done enough, for example, for the CU committee to think I’m suitable to be on committee next year. Will people be saying I’m a great example to others? Am I the most enthusiastic fresher? All these things swirl around my head. And I hate it. If I catch myself I have to think of something else to make it go away.
I hate it because it makes me worry about my motives. I know that I shouldn’t serve God in order to impress other people, to gain leadership positions or be famous in Christian circles. I believe (although sometimes I am really not sure) that this isn’t why I do it and it’s my sinful nature trying to make me proud and I’m weak to it.
Most people probably don’t know about this. I generally manage to keep it under wraps. There’s the occasional time I slip and say how my week is so busy because I’m doing so much at church and CU, then realising what I’ve done and try to laugh it off as some sort of joke. Then I leave worried that person thinks I have got my motives messed up, and think less of me, then I get all the thoughts going round my head again.
We all have our failings, this is one of many of mine.
There isn’t much of a conclusion I can give here but writing this down has helped, I know that I should continue serving God and rejecting sin but that will only work with God’s help. I hope that anyone who struggles with similar problems can now know that they’re not on their own. We all have our struggles with sin, whatever it is, admit to yourself it is an issue and ask God to work within you and help you fight it.
Thanks for reading 🙂
This video talks about why religion isn’t what Christ came to start but what he came to abolish which is a central point in the Christian faith
I know many have seen this video before but I think it’s a clear way of showing how Jesus came to abolish the rules not reinforce them. No one can ever live up to rule after rule to get to God, we’re simply imperfect. Jesus’ death and resurrection means that that fact doesn’t matter; we can get to God through Him.
That’s also what sets Christianity apart from other religions; we don’t have to please a God or act in a certain way to be rewarded, we are given the reward despite how we act, through God sacrificing Himself for us!
Hope that if you’ve seen it before you thought it was worth watching again and if not that it spoke to you.
Please feel free to comment below!
So on Saturday I’m leaving my hometown where I’ve lived all my life to go and live somewhere that I’ve visited only once, and even then only the university campus, for the next four years. This really dawned on me on Sunday evening after being at my last service at the church I’ve grown up in and realising I won’t see it again until Christmas. All the “goodbye”s and “good luck”s from many people I don’t even know have felt surreal but I have accepted that I’m leaving.
But don’t get too worried, I am extremely excited and can’t wait to get stuck into university life and enjoy it. I also, possibly ashamedly, can’t wait to leave home and my parents, due to some issues that they have mainly with each than with me, but details on that are for another post. I’m looking forward, not to reinventing myself, because I’m not changing who I am, but reestablishing myself, making clearer who I am and what I live for to people who have no knowledge of my past.
The feeling that I will be soon having to live independently, sharing a kitchen with ten other people, with four bathrooms between us, none of whom I’ve ever met is also quite a scary prospect. Lots of things my friends going elsewhere have been saying are: What if I don’t get on with the people I have to live with? What if their attitude to life is really different? What if they’re really messy and leave stuff all over the kitchen? What if they don’t clean up after themselves in the bathroom? I’ve got to live with these ten people for the next year (or 9 months anyway) and I reckon it’ll be okay, and if the testimony of the majority of students I’ve talked to is to be believed; there’s nothing to worry about. And I’m ready just to jump in and try it despite all the possible problems. Freshers week in many ways has me scared though, as it seems the centre of it is getting drunk, which isn’t what I do, and clubbing, which isn’t my scene; I just kinda find it boring. I have a friend from my church who is a couple years ahead at the same uni who has already been through it all and she has reassured me it’s okay especially when you stick by what you say you will or won’t do. It’s really cool having someone around I know who looks at things the same way as me. It’s even better that her boyfriend is basically my best mate from church who regularly comes over for visits!
Also my Christian faith and belief in God is probably the most important thing for me and it’s probably quite likely that none of the people that I’ll be living with are religious, let alone Christian, and it’s also quite possible there’ll be someone who will be staunchly atheist, looking to attack faith. Just to be clear, this doesn’t worry me because I think anyone will shake my faith, I have no doubts about what I believe. What I am worried about is how I behave and how I project the image of a Christian to these people. Because actually I’m not going to university just to study and get a degree (I hope!) but it’s a mission field. It’s where God has sent me to spread his incredible word. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be preaching to anyone (in fact that’s extremely unlikely) but the first step is to show a real representation of Jesus Christ in my life. Hopefully if that is successful I will have opportunities to tell others why I act differently. Meanwhile the first thing I want to make sure I do is get involved with the CU at the university and find ways that it does outreach in the university and get stuck in! As well as that I want to find a church that does mission in the city and serve the people of it. I feel God has given me a real calling to serve those who feel unloved and marginalised, and for a short time I wasn’t sure university was actually the place he wanted me to go but I then understood that’s where he wanted me to carry this out – more on how that came about in the next post. This leaves me excited for how God will use me during my university life and I honestly can’t wait for it.
I reckon that’s good place to end this post, in the next day or two I’ll post about my adventures over the summer. Please comment and share if you liked it!
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10b NIV