As I think about why we do all that we do for each other at Christmas and New Years – year after year after year – I’m reminded how my love for Jesus has been tested since I gave my heart and life to Him over 40 years ago. Do I still love Him as I did at the start?
I’m reminded of how giving my husband Mike is. I can never out give him any time of the year! He simply loves to give me extravagant gifts and when I ask him if I can do something that will cost ‘him’ – he figures a way to make it happen. I have found that my husband is a lot like the Lord. Now that we’re older and wiser, we both agree that the best gift we can give one another is our genuine friendship – with all that it means.
Anyway, as I consider my relationship with my Savior I’m looking back to see how I’ve treated Him. I had to ask myself after readying this passage in 2 Timothy, if I consider the gospel of Jesus Christ my gospel.
“This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s Word is not chained. Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” 2 Timothy 2:8-10
Have I been a true friend to Him? Will I be a true friend in the coming days when our friendship is tested like never before? I remember what the Lord called His first disciples who walked with Him; He called them His friends, and no longer His servants. Why did the Lord say this to them? Did the Lord’s gospel become their own as they walked with Him day by day, listening to His teaching about the coming Kingdom and learning how to trust the Father as the Son did?
What gives me the confidence to say that it is “my” gospel as Paul did?
I hear Christians, and me too, refer to the gospel as “the” gospel, but I’ve never heard anyone refer to the gospel so ‘possessively’ as Paul does here in calling it his gospel. I have to ask myself, what am I willing to give up, go through and go without to make the gospel as much my gospel as it was the Lord’s?
I have to ask myself another question: Have I chained God’s Word in any way? As Paul sat in prison because of ‘his’ gospel, he had freedom to share God’s Word there. I have to ask myself if God’s Word means that much to me that I would overflow with God’s Word, no matter what it cost me.
The believer’s persecution and death is under the perfect supervision of our God, no matter where our precious gospel takes us.
“If we died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him. If we disown Him, He will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:11-13
What would it take for me to disown the gospel of Jesus Christ; if anything at all? What will I not do for the gospel? Is the gospel of Jesus Christ mine in every way? Traditions and habits are very hard to break, but why wait for a crisis?
Lord, this is the season we love to celebrate buying and giving gifts to each other. Forgive us Lord for making it more about each other than about You; more about getting through this season than about getting close to You; more about Santa coming again than about Your coming again. May we not be like the ones who missed the time of Your coming to them because of their traditions. May we not be among those who celebrate inside as the You stand at the door knocking to come in.
May 2016 truly be a ‘renewing’ year for us all!