Check your Heart! In His Word 11-28-22


Examine yourself! In His Word 11-28-22

Christmas season is upon us. For centuries people have celebrated the tradition of Christmas in many different ways. They are not so bad if they include the ‘baby Jesus’ right?  Or are they? Do we celebrate in a way that is pleasing to the Lord? Or do we get all wrapped up in the giving of that expensive gift that we forget the ‘Gift’ we are given ? Traditional celebrations can become more about the fun and less about Jesus.

So, the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”

 Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition. Mark 7:5-9

Jesus tells them that they need to let go of the familiar traditions to follow God’s tradition with a purified heart. If  you read from verse 1 through the chapter you will find His focus is purification. We can celebrate accurately when our hearts are right with God.

Check your heart.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

Sometimes we start out with good intentions that get pushed to the wayside as we see something that appears to be ‘more fun’ or exciting to practice in our traditional fashion. Some people get greedy and decide there has to be as many things as they can stuff under a tree each Christmas. We do not always realize when we step aside from the Christmas Traditions of God’s focus and that of men. It is important that we look to Jesus and see that our celebrations are pleasing to Him, since we claim this season to do so! Otherwise we are only lying to ourselves. When we have checked ourselves with the help of the Holy Spirit to guide us then we can know that we have stood up to the test.

I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously.   1 Chronicles 29:17

Let’s face it though, the only way we will find ourselves with a pure heart is when we are relying on the Holy Spirit to guide us! Without Him we are full of dung and dirt, or muck and mire. When we keep our eyes on Jesus we can find the right things to celebrate.

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,  having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever. 1 Peter 1:22-23

It is so easy to try to keep up with the next family on the block, instead of just doing what is right for your family, or yourself for that matter! The best thing, the good thing, is to do the will of the Father, not the will of man. Christmas is not about who can put up the biggest balloons and lights but it is about celebrating the King of Kings, the Birth of Christ.  Somewhere in the back of our minds we know this, but it gets easier and easier to sway into the decoration the best in the neighborhood! These days those decorated items don’t often include a crèche or  Manger scene, let alone a star as many began using to light the way to their mangers. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the decorations and the lights, but I know that the focus should be around the Lord. I want my decorations to point to His Glory. So, how can I do that?

I can think on the things that are according to His story. One idea I keep having each year but have not yet been brave, or bold enough to do it, is to do a ‘living Nativity’ and have actors walk through the scene. Then as cars drive by to look at lights they can see the point to it all. Maybe then someone’s life could be changed this season? What better way to shine the lights?

For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:32-34

Seek first His kingdom, then the rest can come!

Seek the Lord this year ask Him how to include Him in your celebration time! Change your traditions to be religiously connected to the main reason we celebrate today!

Just some thoughts to ponder ad you go through your week ahead planning out the month of parties and gift giving fun.

I think I will try again to get that Nativity up outside instead of just hiding one in my house for my family to see I will try to get that point across to the neighborhood to see! But first, I will examine my heart and get it where it needs to be so that I will not be judgmental but be representing instead. I need to ask my God to create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me that I may walk in His peace this season and not in the stress of the times I am living in. I need to remember that it is not about me, and what I want, but what He desires for each day. I need to do like Jesus and do the will of the Father each day, each moment, as much as I can. In Jesus’ name, and in His love.