Joy to the world! The Lord has come
Let Earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing!
Every year at Christmas, we are reminded to not let Jesus’ incarnation get lost in the shuffle. And so we try and maybe find a few moments to reflect on His advent before diving into the wrapping paper and cookies.
Of course, it’s important this time of year to prepare our hearts to focus on Christ, but we need to do this year-round.
Let’s face it. Life is busy.
We have deadlines to meet. Family to get together with. Jobs to fulfill. Pets to play with. Stories to write. Food to eat. Books to read. Church to attend.
And in the midst of our busyness, our time with the Lord gets demoted to the same position as doing the dishes. Something to check off the to-do list.
Or maybe you are consumed with a passion to serve. Every time the church’s doors are open, you are there. It doesn’t matter if they are hosting a funeral dinner or a concert. You’re there doing everything you can.
But what if in our rush to serve Jesus, we are actually neglecting Him?
Certainly, faith manifests itself in works, but faith in Jesus is also a relationship.
Think of it this way: You want to give your sibling an expensive gift. In order to buy it, you have to work overtime. When your sibling comes to you and asks you to play with them, you tell them you can’t. You’re too tired from work and you have other things that need done.
You want to give them something important and special. But you are neglecting the relationship.
This is what can happen to us. We can get so caught up in serving Jesus that we neglect spending time in His Word and in prayer.
Our faith is active, but it isn’t growing.
Studying Deepens Our Love For God
We serve the Lord in order to please Him. But how do we know what pleases Him if we don’t study His Word?
You know what movies and foods your best friend likes because you spend time with them. You know what gift would make your grandmother really happy because you know her.
When we read the Bible, we will learn what kind of God we serve. We hear about His faithfulness, His wrath, His mercy, His justice, and His grace. His character as revealed in Scripture should drive us to worship and serve Him.
The psalmist says, “Righteous are You, O LORD, And upright are Your judgments. You have commanded Your testimonies in righteousness [a]nd exceeding faithfulness….Your testimonies are righteous forever; Give me understanding that I may live” (Psalm 119:137-138, 144).
Studying The Character of Christ Encourages Imitation
I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who likes to imitate others. If I see an attribute I admire in someone around me, I’ll try to duplicate it.
Christians are called to be imitators of Christ in Ephesians 5:1-2: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, and offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” In order to do that, we must spend time in Scripture.
If I asked you to imitate someone you didn’t know, you wouldn’t be able to do it. Or if you were trying to imitate someone you only knew on a surface level, you might be able to create a decent imitation, but you’d be missing the key elements of what makes them who they are.
Only when we know Jesus on an intimate level and truly understand Who He is and what He values can we imitate Him. His Word says He is:
- Holy (Revelation 3:7)
- Righteous (Isaiah 53:11)
- Faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:4)
- Obedient to God (Philippians 2:8)
- Humble (Philippians 2:5-11)
- Merciful (Hebrews 2:17)
- Compassionate (Isaiah 40:11, Acts 10:38)
A Love for God and a Desire to Imitate His Son Drives Service
Service and study go hand in hand. What you learn from God’s Word informs the way you live. And the more you serve, the more you should be driven to learn about the God you are living for.
How can we serve Someone we do not know? How can our faith be an example to others if we neglect growing it? How can we continue to be the light of the world if we do not fuel our love for God?