We are well into the holiday season and the multitudinous holiday gatherings and gift shopping excursions are shifting into high gear. It is easy in the hustle and bustle of Christmastime, in the midst of the focus upon materialism and even the good cheer of friends and family, to forget that Christmas is really about Jesus. It is easy to lose sight of the Love that sent Him to invade our humanity and redeem us all those many, many years ago. And because He loved us first, we can love Him. In fact, He tells us to love Him above all others, above all things, whether material or relational. (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26) So, this is a good time of the year to reevaluate our relationship with Jesus, to look deep into our own hearts and answer the question our Lord poignantly posed to Peter after His resurrection; “do you love Me?” (John 21:17)
How truly blessed is the man or woman who has a real understanding of what it is experientially to love Jesus. And what it means to hate and despise himself for Jesus’ sake. It is the most demonstratively valuable act a lover can do, to forsake all things, whether material or relational, for their Beloved. He alone is to be loved without condition or reservation above all things. The love of things, especially material possessions, is deceptive and soon brings emptiness to our soul. Materialism over-promises and under-delivers!
The love of Jesus, however, is true and endures for a lifetime and on into eternity. And if you try to find your consolation in your fellow man then you are guaranteed to be disappointed. You will fall when they fall. It is inevitable! But he that fully embraces Jesus Christ will be made to stand steadfast forever. Love Him and keep Him for your best friend. Then, when all other so called friends have deserted you and are gone, He won’t leave you or turn against you. Nor will He, when you are at death’s door, allow you to perish , but will stay with you unto eternal life. You will be eventually separated from everyone else you know-friends, family, associates-whether you want to be or not. So hold fast to Jesus in life and in death and put your trust in His faithfulness. He is the one who alone can help you when all others fail or abandon you.
The nature of the Beloved is such that He will admit no rival; He alone must abide in your heart of hearts and reign there as King upon His throne. Empty your heart of all other persons, hating them by comparison to your love for Jesus, and He will gladly make His home there within you. No matter what it is that you depend upon in others, if you don’t have Jesus it amounts in the end to nothing. Don’t put your trust in “wind-blown reeds”, for “all flesh is like grass and the glory of man like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word (the living and abiding Word of God) lasts forever.” (I Peter 1:24)
If you trust in outward appearances in your dealings with others you will quickly be taken in and deceived. If you seek comfort, approval, and validation or to profitably gain from your associations with others, you will in the end suffer painful loss. Seek Jesus first and only in all things and you will surely find Him and keep Him; or rather He will keep you. If you seek after your own self-interests you will find that it is to your own ruin. The man or woman who does not seek Jesus in his life, who ignores Him in his or her heart and turns Him away, causes more injury to himself than as if the entire world made itself his worst enemy!