As we consider Christmas, I’d like to remind you that there is room for you close to God’s heart. He desires a relationship with us and awaits your reciprocal desire for Him. His extension of love by giving Jesus Christ as our deliverer is the greatest expression of love He could show.
This time of year can feel cruel to many people. A time when love, laughter, and Christmas cheer is promoted, many feel lonely and isolated. There are so many stories that could be shared as to why, yet I’d rather focus on how to remedy this condition.
I received a Christmas card telling of someone dear to me who is facing consequences for their addiction to gambling. It is heartbreaking to see how families of those habituated to some life-dominating problem are drawn into the sad drama of someone else’s poor choices. We feel helpless, and if untaught, victimization can settle in. As a friend or family member, we may want to standby and spectate, or facilitate–further complicating the problem.
What can I do? Step 1 is to stop denying that there is a very real problem that may need some tough love and boundaries placed. You can make a choice for yourself. These good choices can help you get out of God’s way so that the other person can see their need, and this “love” may bring them to the end of their trail. This may sound hurtful but it works similarly to the process of salvation with God. Until someone comes to the end of their human abilities and resources and states “I give up, help me!” they will not become a true believer. When denial ends, then salvation can begin. This soul-transaction only occurs for those who desire it and are desperate enough to humble themselves and cry out to God to save them.
A word of caution concerning boundaries. Boundaries can be misused and turn into a cruel form of punishment if not properly handled. Having a mentor/counselor who can objectively help prevent further complicating issues is a good idea. Boundaries are not to be used to alienate someone, rather they are designed to increase your ability to love one another. A great resource on understanding boundaries are the various boundary books by Henry Cloud & John Townsend. “We do not set boundaries to anesthetize our life, we set them in order to build love, honesty and freedom in our relationships.” ~ Henry Cloud.
Often times the spouse, family member, or friend of someone struggling in relationships prolongs their own journey toward freedom by not understanding their part in the process. They hold on to offenses rendered and become bound in unforgiveness and possibly contempt. But no matter what offenses have come to you, it is not worth missing out on a relationship with your Heavenly Father, who loves you dearly. I pray that at the apex of your heart’s expression of pain, you will break and fall at His feet and allow Him to help you. That is the entire reason for which Jesus came. Giving you, your family members, friends and all, the possibility of being set free from what is dominating the heart. Inspiration from God is a better choice than desperation.
My own sin keeps me separated from God and others. We are in constant warfare between heaven and earth in the spiritual realm (John 10:10). Can you identify? I truly can. Jesus, while sinless, faced battles with Satan and He told us this would be part of our journey too. Those who’ve been enlightened through God’s Word can recognize this truth. Those who live without knowledge or desire for God are bound and cannot discern why. The angry tumult of the soul affects all people at some point, yet many do not understand what they are experiencing. Receiving forgiveness is needed and then, in turn, forgiving others is necessary; the Holy Spirit will enable you to forgive as you grow in Him.
As a result of the miracle of Christmas, we can truly forgive—and what a powerful miracle that is! Christ’s coming and His subsequent death for our sin, His victorious resurrection back to life, and then giving us the Holy Spirit to live within us makes this all possible.
Anytime we face a difficulty in life it is God’s opportunity to bring us to Himself. Have you found this to be true as well?
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” These words are recorded in John 16:33 and you may wonder what Jesus was really saying. To understand this relationship, we must have a proper perspective and see that we were not created to dwell here alone, but rather in relationship to our true Father now and for eternity. The Father’s desire is closeness and oneness with you; our gift from Him is comfort and peace. He provides everything needed for that to happen, yet so few choose this relationship. Why?
Our fallen nature works against submission to God. We, through self-will and our sin-nature, oppose God. It’s our choice to humble ourselves and walk with Him, and this is contrary to everything we understand from a humanistic perspective. We strive to do this on our terms, by self-effort. This results in someone or something other than God sitting on the throne of our heart and His rightful place is given to another.
Our human perspective is to live for ourselves and our own pleasure, naturally. When Christ comes to invade our world, many are offended by that, reject Him, and suffer the consequences; temporal and eternal. But those who will become like a little child and believe that He is who He claimed to be and are willing to humble themselves to receive Him, they gain true abundance in this life. This, in turn, provides freedom from sin, including addictions — which are a false source of comfort or relief.
God’s Word is the primary source from which understanding and oneness with God comes. Anyone struggling with loneliness will find themselves filled with peace once a relationship is developed and the power of God’s Word is applied. It works every time I am tempted toward dwelling in loneliness.
This Christmas, will you Make Room in your heart to receive Him? Are you willing to lay your life down, just as He did for you? The abiding joy He gives, the peace that passes all understanding, and God’s love will overtake the inner turmoil. Pray and ask Him for help you overcome the obstacles in your heart. There is room at the cross for you… will you come?
Photo Credit: Google Images
Music Link: Make Room (feat. Matt Maher) Casting Crowns