“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:8-10 (NIV)
Have you ever noticed God is always telling us to not be afraid? For instance, in the Bible, whenever an angel shows up with a message from God, the first thing the angel says is: “Do not be afraid.”
There are all kinds of reasons we might be afraid to receive a message from God: We’re afraid of change, afraid of losing control, afraid of sacrifice.
We’re afraid of living apart from the pretense that we must be good enough.
Yet, the good news of great joy is that you don’t have to be good enough because God is good enough on your behalf!
The Bible teaches us to fight fear with faith—faith that Jesus will cover all our sins and shortcomings.
- Replace fear with faith. God’s perfect love drives out all fear (1 John4:18). As you abandon your fears, ask God to guide you toward great faith: “I believe, Lord; help my unbelief.”
- Chase God, not perfection. You will never reach perfection, but Jesus, through his death and resurrection, is your perfection. God doesn’t love you because you’re the best in your class or because you try really hard. God loves you because he loves you. Slow down, shake off your anxiety, and meditate on that.
During this time of Advent take some time to give yourself a digital cleanse. Look up from your devices for someone to specifically connect with.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
Communicating is at an all time high in our digital world of social media and information access! Yet real connecting seems to be slipping. Loneliness is trending higher in recent years than ever before.
Oh, Facebook gives ample opportunity to display just how “happy” we really are with our smiling selfies and the cool places we check in at. But the loneliness and isolation many feel is not uncommon.
God invites us to reach out to others and faithfully take charge of handing out His favour, His grace, through the means He has given us.
Someone around you is lonely this Christmas Season. Maybe your own heart is longing for belonging. Advent gives us a road map out of the barren Land of Lonely. It’s a map that leads us to Jesus and to one another.
As we hand out favour to those around us simply because we have received the unmerited favour (grace) of God, we find a new level of true JOY.
- Use your gift of compassion to reach out to someone who is alone right now.
- Use your gift of finances to ease the burden of someone struggling to pay the rent this month.
- Use your gift of hospitality to open your home to someone needing the warmth you have to offer.
- Use your gift of encouragement to write some special notes this Christmas.
Advent is the time of year when we pause and think not only of the Christ child – but of the Savior of the world! This Jesus offers us unmerited grace and invites us to share it with others.
Make a quiet decision to look around on the path you are on today and really see who Jesus has put alongside you. Tell Him you will be His faithful steward, freely passing out the grace He has given to you.
“Jesus and Others and You – what a wonderful way to spell JOY.”
Father God, Today I want to make the choice to find someone in the Land of Lonely and as my offering to You, faithfully give away Your love and grace. I know that when I put You and others before my own self focus, I find an unusual map that leads me out of the Land of Lonely too. Fill my heart with the desire to truly see others and to freely pass out the grace I have received. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
During this time of Advent take some time to give yourself a digital cleanse. Look up from your devices for someone to specifically connect with. Invite Jesus into your own lonely places and ask Him to walk with you there. Then ask Him to open your eyes to see someone who needs to know His love this week. Use your gifts to offer grace in one of its many forms.