Every year, I make a Christmas list comprised of every person for whom I am buying a gift. Beside each name, I write what I am getting for them - with an idea of what I want to get and how cost to spend on that gift - and whole-heartedly declare not to spend one penny more. Somehow, the amount I actually spend rarely coincides with the amount I intended to spend, but I digress!
With every purchase, I then mark it off my list. Done!
I carry that list everywhere I go because there are evil people lurking in my home who will go to any lengths to find that list. Why? Because I am the Queen of Christmas Surprise! I have to guard the Secret Santa List with my life in order to keep my “Queen-ship” status secure.
I know where that Christmas list is at all times because it is my gift-giving plan for the holidays.
I wish I were just as concerned about my God List.
I know I need to seek God and His plan for my life through the Word, but there are days when I don’t spend enough time reading and studying the Bible to discern that plan.
I know I need to pray like crazy to make it through each and every day. Instead, I plead for escape routes from the problems staring me in the face.
I really want to carry His life plan for me in my heart and mind, constantly making choices and decisions in light of that list, guarding it like the treasure map of eternity that it truly is.
But I have come to realize that just knowing God’s plan for my life does not guarantee success.
I must do the plan. That is where obedience comes in. An obedient heart is a “fixed” heart - the only gift God wants from us this holiday season.
“O God, my heart is fixed!”
“O God, my heart is fixed!”
I must be deliberate in my obedience. Every choice I make, every word I say, every thought I have demands a radical obedience to the standards of God.
Life is so daily, isn’t it? And just about the time we think we have it all figured out, God arranges a reality check to remind us that without Him – we will fail.
Failure is not final. It is inevitable. We are frail human beings. We are mortal.
But there is good news! Our greatest opportunities to grow are often packaged in the ruins of failure.
The fact that we are frail humans makes us desperate for God. Our greatest hope is fulfilled by the fact that Jesus came, lived, and died to make it possible for us to know Him.
Knowing God changes absolutely everything.
Maybe today is a good time to stop, go back over my list, and review those life lessons I have learned, checking to see where I really am in my walk with God.
Maybe today is the perfect time to revisit the manger and truly celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by giving Him the gift of obedience.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22