The Christmas season is a powerful and unique time of year to remember that Jesus came to make a way for us to be near God. In his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus built a bridge between us and God allowing us to have continual, unhindered communion with our Creator. But God can’t force us into nearness with him. Even as believers filled with the Holy Spirit, we can choose to live as if God is still far off. So this Christmas season, may we choose to open our hearts to the living God that we might experience fullness of joy in his loving presence.
“By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17 We have the privilege as Jesus’ disciples of carrying his presence with us into the world. God in his love has chosen to use us as agents of awakening. He’s commissioned us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). And in 1 John 4:15-17 we gain an insight into the way in which God would have us make disciples:
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.
“As he is so also are we in this world.” What a powerful statement! God’s plan for the world is to form and fashion us into those who reflect his goodness to others. The hope of the world rests in Jesus’ mercy and grace as proclaimed through our lives. And the only way in which we carry Jesus with us into the world is by abiding in God and allowing him to abide in us.
Do you know that you can abide in God? And not just in spending time alone with him! 1 John 4 teaches us that when we abide in love, when we love others, we are abiding in him. You see, abiding in God requires us to be where he is. It requires us to yield to his leadership and heart that we might join him throughout our day where he is already at work. Sometimes abiding requires time spent in solitude, the word, and worship. Other times abiding requires action.
Where is God at work in your midst today? Who is he pursuing and how can you join him? Who is he drawing to himself and how can you help him? If you want to be with God today, join him in seeing his kingdom of love advance. If you want to abide in the presence of Jesus, decide to live like him, empowered by his Spirit. You don’t have to live perfectly. You don’t have to be anything other than who you are. God in his power and grace has created you for a specific purpose to reveal a specific aspect of his heart to the world. Simply choose to let him in to all you are and do today that your day might be filled with his life-giving presence. Choose to carry his wisdom, love, and grace into relationship with others that in your communication, emotions, and actions you would proclaim his character.
Take time in guided prayer to find rest and purpose in the presence of Christ.
1. Meditate on God’s command to abide in him. Allow Scripture to fill you with desire to center your life around the presence of God.
“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.” 1 John 4:15-17
2. Ask God for a revelation of his nearness. Take time to rest in his presence that you might be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
3. Ask God for specific ways in which you can love others today. Pay attention as he puts people or circumstances on your heart. Pay attention to how he would have you engage others today. Ask him for his grace and power to love others well today.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10