For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, –Luke 2:11a
Now that I am 40 years old, I am finally beginning to understand what the older folks were talking about when I was a kid. They would say things like, “It’s hard to believe Christmas is already here again.” I was thinking, “What??? It took forever . . . and there’s still like a WEEK left!” Now, I get it. Various days may drag from time to time, but years sure do fly by.
This morning, I have chosen to divide Luke 2:11 up into 2 parts. Absolutely no person who calls himself or herself a Christian has a problem with the first part. Without exception, Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World. We believe that He came to live a sinless life, be the ultimate and final sacrifice for the sin that plagues every human being born into this world, and cleanse everyone who would ask by faith and receive this great and wonderful gift of mercy, grace, forgiveness, and eternal life. We love stables, mangers, farm animals, wise men, shepherds, stars, and of course we love the baby lying in a manger wrapped in swaddling cloths. Christians love this time of year. I still love this time of year. It is when we celebrate the fact that Jesus came into the world.
He is Christ the Lord. – Luke 2:11b
Here is where Christians seem to stumble in droves. I would know because I stumbled here for years. Yes, the Great God of Heaven left splendor to come here to Earth, but His purpose was not simply to give us a manger scene. His purpose also included teaching us how to live and giving us the ultimate example of a life humbly, and completely submitted to God. Every Christian wants Him as Savior. But very few of them seem to want Him as Lord.
As Savior, He alone bears the un-earnable free gift of eternal life. He gives peace in your heart. Through Him, all can have peace with Him, peace with themselves, and peace with other people. These are all things that can be attained through faith in Him. All Christians love Him as Savior.
However, as Lord, He said things like, “Love your enemy,” and “If you love me, you will obey my commands”, and “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Baby Jesus grew up and said plainly, “If you want to save your life, lay it down for others.” (Mark 8:34)
Everyone likes gifts, which is why so many have received Jesus as Savior.
Nobody likes being told what to do, which is why so many Christians reject Him as Lord.
The fullness of Christianity will only be received when you choose to lay down your life and follow Him as both Savior and Lord. I realize that every Christian has his or her individual and personal walk with the Lord, but here is what it looked like for me to receive Him as Savior and Lord. I wish I had done both in one shot. It would have saved me quite a bit of heartache.
As a 16 year old, I received the gift. I think of it now as I had a very nice present still wrapped in the box. Now that I had it, I was going to get to go to Heaven. All I had to do was show Him my present when I stood before Him on the Day of Judgment. I had said the right words and I was now “in.” I had received Him as Savior.
As a 21 year old, I opened the gift. I began to read and study the Bible. I found out that there were rules He wanted me to follow that I hadn’t been following. He wanted me to tell the truth . . . I was a liar. He wanted me to be pure . . . I was immoral. He wanted me to be clean . . . I was dirty. I prayed. I told Him to the best of my ability, I would trust Him and obey Him. This is what it looked like for me to receive Him as Lord.
As a 40 year old, I am in awe of the gift. At some point, His presents became His Presence. There is nothing like it in the World. I realize that I need the rest of my life to study the truths contained in His Word. I realize that I am in a growing relationship with Him that will last the rest of my Earthly life and continue on into Eternity. There was no way I could have possibly understood this 24 years ago.
This Christmas, examine your relationship with Him.
Have you received Him as Savior? It is pretty simple. Ask Him into your heart. Believe that Jesus gave His life to forgive your sins. Confess with your mouth that you need Him and realize that there is no going to Heaven without Him.
Maybe you are reading this and you have been there and done that. But you know that there is more. You know you are holding back on Him and giving Him the leftovers of your life instead of the best of your life. I would encourage you to receive Him today as Lord. Pray to receive the Holy Spirit. Then, open His Word and receive the many truths contained therein. You will find that there is much, much more to this never-ending gift that we Christians celebrate at Christmas.