We have a reason to rejoice
My pastor, Max Garza, says that in heaven God speaks Spanish. Maybe it's true. I understand God's recent whispers to me as, "Cristo nacio. Cristo murio. Cristo vive." Translation: "Christ was born. Christ died. Christ lives."
I'm not sure why he's telling me in Spanish, but I understand why he's telling me: The Christmas season includes the whole of Jesus' life and mission. Whether we include it in our Christmas messages, Jesus was born so one day he could die for us and be resurrected in victory. That mercy and power was accomplished.
To all the above, I say, "Hallelujah!" The church has reason for overwhelming joy.
The world can't provide joy. Only temporary escapes from pain. Someone has labeled these escapes, "Wine, women and song". They temporarily numb, but are powerless to sustain and invigorate our lives. The church has reason for joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Even though the church is called to rejoice, sometimes we forget. We fall into thinking life revolves around us. You, personally. Me, personally. I want God to approve my plans or goals. Then, how do I behave when I don't get what I want? Do I feel sorry for myself and try to manipulate?
When author and theologian Elton Trueblood looked at the church, he saw us being concerned with only ourselves. It's true. We are not perfect. He called for "a society of loving souls without self-seeking struggle for personal prestige" because, he said, the world needs our testimony of good. Keep trying to be like Christ. Maintain your confidence in the gospel message. When those who are watching you see your continuing attempts and confidence, they will have hope.
Therefore, how can we behave better? We can make ourselves available to the Holy Spirit so he can work on us. When we listen and obey his promptings, he will lead us into being more like Christ.
All of history's Christians have had the Holy Spirit, but today his involvement in our lives is more prolific. Within churches, groups of men and women are dedicating themselves more completely to God.
In addition to churches, groups of lay persons follow the Holy Spirit's leading. Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International is such a group. Christian television broadcasting is around the globe 24/7. The Pentecostal and Charismatic movements have been born. People are dreaming Jesus and his message. In daily living, people are being prepared, given wisdom, led to act, and seeing the good results of their obedience. The good news is being told and people are receiving forgiveness.
When we see this evidence of the Holy Spirit, can we exchange our will for God's will? Can we recognize him as the center of life? If we trust God, then we will be able to exhibit the vitality and overwhelming joy the world needs to see. I invite you to rejoice.