As we work through this Christmas season I have found myself saying "that's not reality" quite a few times. It has been amazing to me that if I can fight back to the reality of the situation am I freed up to enjoy it. As a Christian this is a most important practice. If we are not in Christ we never can face reality because we have no answer for it. We always look for a false sense of reality. You see it in families who live in normal homes and watch HGTV and think "we could do that" or extended family that think "when they come home for Christmas, I'll be happy" or in ministry when the leader sees his people with rose colored glasses. There are a ton of examples of people living outside of reality. I believe Christ is calling us to live in reality. I believe only a Christian can do this. A few weeks ago our pastor was preaching and began discussing homo-sexuality among other sins that people excuse by saying "I was born this way" and most people in there as he started were probably expecting him to say "no you're not that is a choice" or something like that. But because our Pastor reads the Bible he followed it with "of course your born that way, we are all born that way (with sin)" It seems that as a Christian that news like this would be quite terrible and if you don't really know Christ, it is terrible. But, if you do know Christ this is so freeing. I can live in the reality that I was born in sin. David says in Psalms 51 that he was conceived in sin. Paul tells us in Romans that no one is righteous. This means that apart from salvation we have more in common with ISIS than we do Christ. The only difference between me and a murderer is the sin that my soul desired was different. How freeing is that! I am found out! I don't have a need to convince you of some false reality of my life! I can share with God and fellow Christians the nastiest sins in my life because we are all in the same boat. I can pray for "the bad guys" because I know if it wasn't someone praying for me I could be in their shoes! I can risk my "reputation" and try something new because I have already won!
This destroys this self help believe in yourself stuff that everyone tries to sell us. I've noticed that one of our biggest fears is becoming who we actually are. For me my biggest fear was becoming "a joke" and I tried to prove that wrong for many years. I would do it by trying to tear down expectations or using my personality to get me by. Well, if Paul is right, without Christ I am a joke. I am a vessel of disappointment and unmet potential because I was created to display God's glory and I've traded the truth for a lie and tried to display my glory. In discovering this I was freed up. I no longer had to lower expectations or begin to rely on other aspects to prove my worth. I was able to look to Christ and his worth. Because in my flesh I am a joke I am able to Glorify Christ more in my success. I am freed up to give 100% because even if i fail I am secure in Christ. My freedom started by embracing the reality of my position before God without Christ and then living in my position before God with Christ.
This Holiday season, embrace reality. Embrace the fact that time with family will be tough because of loss or brokenness. Embrace the fact that you will see a ton of people worship material over Christ. Embrace the fact that in your heart your tempted to do the same. Then live in the new reality that one day we will be with a perfect family with no loss or brokenness, one day we will celebrate not the coming of Jesus but the full presence of Christ! Live in the reality that one day you will no longer be burdened by the temptation to worship someone other than the One who deserves your worship!