Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Don't Lose Your Own Battle For Christmas

Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
1 Timothy 1:5

     The birth of Jesus is the incarnation, God with us in the flesh. The purpose of the incarnation and of Christmas is, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - and I am the worst of them." (1 Tim. 1:15)  When we believe in the Gospel, He purifies our hearts. We know we are still sinners, but we trust that He's forgiven us. We know we're sinners, but His grace gives us courage. When we wake up in the morning and engage in spiritual battle, we do it with confidence. When we fail and fall, we confess our sin and find grace and mercy for the battle.
     What happens, though, when we deliberately choose to sin?  When we ignore the Holy Spirit speaking to our conscience, we quench Him. We know we've sinned, and we know we've ignored Him. We know we are hypocrites at that point, even if no one else does. There's no confidence in that, no courage, and no strength for the battle. 
     We can know that the world is wrong, and still live wrong. We can fight for Christmas, and fail to fight for our own good conscience. At that point, we're not just personally weakened. We are spiritually weakened. We've rendered ourselves spiritually anemic and ineffective. Even if we win some external battle, we've lost.
     So, guard your conscience this Christmas. Confess and turn from sin as soon as convicted. Forgive others quickly. Don't join the world. Invade it with the message of Christmas, that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners," and make Paul's confession your own, "and I am the worst of them."