Wednesday, December 14, 2011

POV Wednesday – True Gift of Christmas

I’ve been dealing with some tough stuff lately. Maybe you have too. Well, it’s been driving me to God’s Word looking for answers! I have no idea if this will make sense or help, but I do know that it helped me.

James 1:2-4 says: Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

The desire for perfection has all but disappeared in this age, I admit even in my heart. ‘Enough’ to get by with as little pain and suffering possible, we accept a level of mediocrity and are done with it.

But we’re meant for so much more. We’re meant for perfection – to be perfect ourselves and to be perfect for our Perfect Lover, Jesus Christ.

Problem is, our fallen world has twisted this to make us believe that we are to obtain this perfection on our own, which is futile. When we believe that, though, it is impossible to see ‘troubles’ as James calls them as ‘opportunities for great joy.’ We can only see them as setbacks and obstacles.

But the writer of Hebrews says in 10:14: For by one sacrifice [Jesus’ death] He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

This tells me that I have nothing to do with my perfection. It’s only through His suffering that He is making me perfect and holy. I am only the clay, He is the potter forming and shaping me on His wheel (Isaiah 64:8).

This process, sanctification, being made perfect, is not a painless one. To be made perfect, which is to share in His glory, we must also share in His suffering. (Rom. 8:17, 2 Cor. 1:5, 2 Cor. 1:7, 1 Peter 5:1).

Here’s a reason to rejoice - Jesus bore the hard part – death. The sufferings we experience now are nothing compared to that, or to the glory of the perfection meant for us.

How is this a Christmas post? Pain and suffering hardly puts us in a cheery, holiday mood, does it?

Well, I’m talking about THE reason Jesus was born. He came to earth to suffer and experience our pain because He knows the requirement for our perfection is suffering. And we cannot face that on our own. So He came to take the brunt. He is the comfort and He also provides comfort.

More reasons to rejoice.

1 Peter 5:12 says: My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in that grace.

So don’t be discouraged if you are suffering. It could be evidence that you’re being made perfect. Like God’s grace being sufficient for Paul’s thorn in 2 Corinthians, we should accept it as a gift.

Gifts are always a good opportunity for great joy, right?

Wo! 11 days until Christmas!

(photo by


LynnRush said...

Thinking about you, Lori!!! Miss you bunches!