December 1st, 2022, 10:54 am
For new Christians—and even old—making changes to their lives without knowing they are loved can be extremely difficult. Knowing they are loved brings assurance: they (not their sinful actions) are accepted. This assurance of love gives them hope and courage to begin making changes, knowing they will not automatically be abandoned if they stumble along the way.
When Adam and Eve sinned, bringing misery and death to our world, God was unwilling to let them despair of their broken relationship with Him. He sought them to give hope and assurance that He had not abandoned them; only they could abandon Him. God spoke words of encouragement—guaranteeing He would crush the serpent’s head and cover their spiritual nakedness by sacrificing His own life. Moreover, He proved His words by His actions—sacrificing an animal to provide a cover for their physical nakedness.
Throughout history, God has remained faithful to his unfaithful people. He dwelt in their midst in the desert sanctuary and on the temple mount. Over two thousand years ago, Christ fulfilled His promise of not abandoning us to sin. From His birth, He tabernacled with us, performing acts of healing, speaking messages of truth and encouragement, displaying His Father’s love, and freely forgiving sinners—providing tangible proof of His love. He accepted us, His fallen brothers and sisters, and wanted us to know He was there to help us change and develop His character as we trust and depend on Him. His patience and display of love toward those around Him who desired to change should remind us of His patience and love toward us and that we must display the same toward others.
Likewise, in this month’s stories, which focus on individual journeys, God’s love is displayed in the lives of missionaries and the previously unreached. Some have made incredible strides in their walk with God; others are currently stumbling; for all, the growth in Christ’s character is a process. Each of us is also at some point in the process, so let us love one another, extending His grace and providing each other with hope and courage to change—the story of the manger.