I used to shake my head at the Israelites who complained about bitter water just after they watched God deliver them from the strongest nation in their world. I also thought proudly that, if I had lived in the little town of Bethlehem, I would have given up not just a room but my entire house for the King of Kings. However, I am realizing more and more every day that I am no different than the rest of fallen humanity. It is one thing to say that I am a follower of God; it is another thing to live that out, as the apostle Peter learned the hard way.
It is easy to say that I’ve given my life to Jesus and that my life belongs to him. But life is made up of years, which are made up of months, which are made up of weeks, which are made up of days, which are made up of hours, which are made up of minutes, which are made up of seconds. Does my desire to live for Christ affect the actual seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years that I am called to steward? Some people literally give up their lives for Christ, the people that God has chosen and gives the grace to die as martyrs. But most of us are called to live for Christ one moment at a time. It is much easier said than done.
It is also easy to say that all I have belongs to Christ. It’s hard to not panic when someone actually drops our computer, dents our car, loses our phone, or – worst of all – spills water on one of our books. Sometimes I wonder why the Bible specifically states that “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Wouldn’t it also make sense to flip that statement? Don’t our hearts point the way to our treasures? Logicians and scholars can correct me, but I think that Matthew 6:21 is written the way it is written because it makes it much harder to deceive ourselves. We can say with our mouths that our heart is in the right place, but the location of our actual treasure will reveal the truth.
As we dwell on the incarnation of Jesus this season, may we pray for hearts that are truly, thoroughly, and totally devoted to Christ. May we not sing “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” while hanging a “No Room” sign on our hearts, calendars, and wallets. May we live for Christ in actuality, not on a checklist or bucket list. May we treasure Christ in reality, not telling ourselves that it is the “thought that counts.” Most of all, may the Lord free us from our self-deception and self-righteousness so that we can behold the glory of the Son of God and willingly cast our crowns before Him!