This is the second week of the 2010 Advent season and this week we focus on the change that God has called us to make in our lives. It is a change from a life of sin to a life of love and dependence upon God. It is a change that only God can enable and, ultimately, only He can accomplish in our lives. Yet, we are called to join fully and wholeheartedly with Him in this change.
The Son of God was born in the manger to bring more than wisdom and moral teaching to the world. As good as those things are, Jesus brought something that is gloriously impossible for humans to accomplish. That is the changing of a human heart so that we live lives that are pleasing in God’s eyes.
When we think of our sin, as mentioned earlier, we need to think beyond just a list of do’s and don’ts. Too often people think of the Christian faith as simply trying to appease God by doing more things that they believe will make Him happy versus what they believe will anger Him. The Christian faith is about much more than this. It is about realizing that God is our Creator and He has made us for a purpose. That purpose is to be in relationship with Him and to find our greatest joy in knowing and loving Him. We confuse this when we simply treat God as if He is the great warden in the sky who will zap us when we disobey beyond His level of tolerance.
What is sin? Sin is placing anyone or anything in God’s place in our life. John Calvin said the heart is an idol factory and humans are experts at idol manufacturing. Idolatry is replacing God on the throne of your life and putting something else there. Perhaps you’ve put yourself there. Maybe you’ve put accomplishments or possessions there. You might have put a relationship in that place. What does your life ultimately rotate around? That is your ruler.
The Bible calls us to a right relationship with our Creator, which includes Him being the Lord of our lives. To come to this point we need to repent of our idol work. Repenting is more than saying we’re sorry, though. Repenting is seeking God’s forgiveness and turning away from our wrong attitudes or actions. We turn toward Christ. It is through faith and dependence upon Him that we are able to live a life that is pleasing to God. The Bible says God will punish our sins. Jesus took the punishment for those that will believe in Him when He was crucified and offers forgiveness to those who will receive it. He is the Savior and Redeemer for the world! When we trust in Christ’s work of forgiveness at the cross and empty tomb (Easter) we are able to see real change begin in our lives.
To continue this change God has given wonderful gifts in His Holy Spirit, His Word and the local church to come alongside us. This Christmas receive the gift of a changed life that God gives to show you grace and joy.