Oh what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God, the answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord! — Romans 7:24-25
This has been a pretty busy, a pretty wonderful, and a pretty emotional week. I wrapped up the first semester of the school year on Tuesday morning, drove the family to Pigeon Forge that afternoon, came home on Thursday where Tonya and I celebrated 21 years of marriage, did Christmas Eve with my two families last night, and now I’m awake on Christmas Day at 3 a.m. I am so full . . . literally and figuratively.
I do have to say, I have had the Christmas Spirit like no other year that I can recall. I think it started back with a radio station doing Christmas in July. This year, songs that have never intrigued me seem to fill my soul. I read a Christmas Carol and just cried like crazy when Ebenezer’s heart changed. I’ve read that thing at least 10 times. Why have I never cried reading it before?
I think it is because I saw myself in the story for the first time. I wonder now where I would be had I never invited Christ into my life. As a sixteen-year-old kid, there were two paths set before me. One was easy and required no effort at all. I only needed to keep doing what I felt was right, doing what I liked, and doing what made me feel good. There were so many people walking that path with me. It was wide, it was convenient, it was smooth, and it constantly led to an emptiness in my heart that I hated.
The other path was narrow. There were so few people on it . . . especially people my own age. I couldn’t walk it no matter how hard I tried. I would so easily turn around when the path looked the least bit difficult or uncomfortable. I would so easily refuse God’s nudges to do right.
That is . . . until I obeyed the first nudge. I don’t even know why I did obey. I didn’t want to. I just became aware of how I didn’t like where disobeying had led me. There was so much temporary pleasure and long-term dissatisfaction. At least for this one moment, I was willing to endure temporary pain for what I hoped was the beginning of long-term satisfaction. I think for the first time I understood the concept of delayed gratification.
Thirty-one years later, I’ve obeyed a lot of nudges. I’ve disobeyed even more. I see that, without God in my life, I’d be so miserable. Like Paul admitted almost two millennia ago, I admit that I am miserable at heart. I still don’t gravitate toward what is right. The right thing does not come naturally. Sin still desires to dominate me, and I still need someone to save me!
Thank God for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!
Can you imagine what this world would be like had He never come? Imagine a world where nobody cared about Him . . . where no one had ever been transformed by Him. I know I’m still spiteful, vengeful, thoughtless, and hedonistic at heart. My instincts to this day do not gravitate towards what is right. However, the more I get to know God, the more I know what the right choice is despite my instincts. Every time, and I mean every time, I have been beyond blessed for choosing His way over my own!
Lord, I truly thank You for leaving Heaven . . . the wonderful peace, and joys of heaven, to come down here to this God-hating earth. You lived the way You lived and endured all that You endured so a thoughtless kid might, just might, give You his life and surrender his will to Yours. I honestly can’t believe what You’ve done in my life. As little as I’ve obeyed, and as little as I’ve done . . . You have blessed me beyond measure. I love You; I thank You, and I give You every ounce of love that I have in me at this very moment. I know life will resume, I’ll get busy, and I’ll put You on the backburner more times than I can count. But I ask Lord with all my heart that You continue to complete the work in me that You have begun. May You always lead me home!