Let every heart prepare Him room...
I have always wondered what the atmosphere was like that night in Bethlehem. Was it loud and noisy with so many people crowded in the town? I like to think that because Scripture says God speaks in a still, small voice, that all was silent that night when Love came down. Love did come down to us. It left Heaven's glory to be born in a stable filled with animals. It left the presence of millions of angel's continued worship to come to a place where mankind uttered the words, "there is no room in the inn." Love was willing to be separated from the Father so that we might have access to the throne.
With the Christmas season upon us, this year I am asking myself the question, "Does Christ have a place in my life that is better than the manger in Bethlehem?"
Does Christ have a place in my life that is better than the manger in Bethlehem?
Falling in love with Jesus is truly easy when we come face to face with just who He is. When we immerse ourselves in His Word, it isn't difficult to sit there awestruck, wondering just how He could love us the way that He does. Loving Him is easy, but opening up the door of our heart and life to His holy presence leaves us, if we're honest, fearful and hesitant because of all the sin that is inevitably there. I encourage you, this Advent season, to prepare your heart for the King. 2016 has been a monumental year for me. It has been a painful year, but going under the Holy Spirit's knife has been one of the greatest blessings I have ever experienced in my walk with the Lord. Until gold is put into the fire’s flame, it cannot be purified or refined. 2016 has been what I call, my "refining year." I say this in complete humility. It has been a year-long season where God has sought to make Himself the center of my life by taking me through a cleansing process. Painful? Very much. But when I think of Mary's travail as she labored to bring forth Life, I can't help but willingly say, as she did, "Be it unto me according to thy word" (Luke 1:38). Her suffering (and any mother can relate to the pains of childbirth!) paved the way for her Salvation to come. Likewise with us, spiritually we must face the extreme pain of the cross in order to experience the freedom from self and sin. Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
A mighty test of faith is before us each day, and it’s up to us to decide if we are willing to trust the hands of our God.
If you are satisfied in your walk with the Lord, if you are pleased with where you stand with the Maker, then by all means continue on your way. But if you long for the hills from whence cometh our help (Psalm 121:1-2); if your soul thirsts for deeper waters where you can see the works and wonders of the Lord (Psalm 107:23-24); if you desire more, then find a quiet place and make sure you have at least an hour of alone time where you can echo David and say to the Lord, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24)
1) Grab your journal and your Bible and quietly ask God to reveal any and all sin in your life. Write each thing that comes to mind, acknowledging it as sin - as a cancer that is eating away your intimacy with Christ.
2) Humbly ask forgiveness from God for each sin you have written down. Once you have acknowledged your sin, ask for and receive His forgiveness.
3). Make a commitment to Christ that you will no longer walk the same way. This is not merely a feeling of remorse over sin, it’s a conscious decision we make to never allow that sin to reign in our heart ever again.The Bible calls this repentance, which means to make a 180 degree turn and go the opposite way. 4) Once you have made things right with God, seek His wisdom and ask Him if there are any people you need to go to. If you have wronged another person, go and make things right. If there are people you need to extend forgiveness to, forgive them now.
When we fall in love with Christ, some things will inevitably take place as a natural outflow of the love we have for our great Savior. Among them will be creating a habitation that is worthy of His holy presence. Let me encourage you to give Jesus your whole heart this Christmas. Do not allow lingering sin in your life to cause you to hang a "no vacancy" sign on the door of your heart. Joyfully welcome His coming by having a ready place for Him to dwell.