The Christmas season comes with so much love and joy, but at the same time, I am coming to realize that an everyday darkness is especially revealed this time of year. Don’t get me wrong: I would quite probably be on Christmas’s Top 10 Fans’s list–if that were existent; God has just been revealing a battle in myself and others that is especially heightened by the season of giving and receiving.
The love for things. The love for the world. It kills.
It’s so easy to do. We live in a “more world” with a constant pursuit for–just that–more: more money, more degrees, nicer cars, a bigger house, a better job. The world tells us that there is always room for improvement. There is always something else to strive for.
The world teaches us that because we work hard for our rewards and achievements, the responsible thing to do is protect them, love them, be proud of them, and enjoy them. Jesus tells us that all this does is open our hearts and makes us susceptible to the spiritual strangle of greed, lust, and ironically, emptiness.
The pursuit for more leaves us with so much less.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world–the lust of flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.“ 1 John 2:15-17
The “lust of flesh,” “the lust of the eyes,” and the “pride of life” are all very sly acts of the enemy that keep our hearts off of Jesus. They are so appealing and seemingly justifiable. The enemy is good at what he does; he leads us away from Jesus so gradually and seemingly satisfyingly–until the realization comes that the illusion of success has left nothing but emptiness and dissatisfaction.
The only thing that can make us full, bring us pure joy, bring us full contentment, is Jesus.
It’s not a sin to have nice things. Everything we have is a gift from above. The sin comes in the form of the value we place on these nice things. If you were suddenly told you needed to get rid of your car, house, and iPhone, and were stripped of all the money you had earned, would you be left with joy? According to Jesus we should be. We should place all that we value and love in Him. Our worship for our belongings does nothing but consume our hearts until there is no room for His powerful joy, peace, and love.
With all this being said, enjoy the Christmas season. Enjoy giving. Enjoy receiving. Enjoy all that you are given, but in the midst, be conscious of whether the sudden disappearance of it all would leave you with joy or with emptiness.