Holiday Devotional - Christmas Day 2016

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We All Have The Same Wish List

Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water." John 4:13-15

… having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places… Ephesians 1:18-20

In Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, he shares the gospel of faith and repentance with this woman in accordance with her felt needs (or her "presenting problems"). She communicated a need for a different source of water, but her actual need was the living water of the gospel. A layer deeper, she is expressing a need for insulation and protection from guilt, shame, fear, and judgment while simultaneously needing a better and more perfect source of love than her current live-in boyfriend. In her desires and fears, she is expressing her own need for the gospel! She does need freedom from God's wrath and her own sin, and she does need a reconciled relationship with her Creator through Jesus' life, death and resurrection!

It is amazing how God uses the holiday season to ready people's hearts for his gospel of reconciliation with him. There is a readiness to give and receive gifts. A readiness to acknowledge the reality of death, both in the deadness of winter and in remembering Thanksgivings and Christmases past when our loved ones were still with us. A readiness to acknowledge how this world always over-promises and under-delivers. Material wealth and the American dream are unable to fulfill our deepest longings. A readiness to acknowledge sin and brokenness that comes from spending extended time with our extended families. An openness to having certain portions of God's Word read aloud in settings where it would otherwise be unwelcome. A readiness to attend corporate worship and be among the people of God. Etcetera.

In Christ, we are ministers of reconciliation, God using us to reconcile sinful man to their perfect Father. But how can we engage in this ministry that we have been given if we don't believe the gospel ourselves? Do we still need a nicer house, nicer furniture, nicer toys, a spouse, a nicer spouse, a more attractive spouse, kids, more obedient kids, more successful kids, a clean bill of health, admission into a certain social circle, or a better job to give us life? If so, we need to do the only thing we can do: confess our pride and unbelief to our Father and ask him to enable us to repent and believe the gospel. When we believe the gospel, we can share the gospel. When we share the gospel, we get to see the power of God at work: the greatest gift.

Matt Avery
CSPC Director of Discipleship and Minister to 20s