When we talk about the “church”, we are not talking about a building, we are talking about the body of Christ made up of all believers. Paul talks about the make up of the body of Christ in Ephesians 1:22-23, 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way. The intended makeup of our relationship with God was fulfilled when Christ died and God raised Him from the dead. It is because of this miracle and God’s plan which allows each of us to be saved and become members as believers in the body of Christ fulfilled.
As believers and followers of Christ, we have every benefit of knowing God through our relationship with Him. Ephesians 1:3 says, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Because of salvation and our intimate relationship with Christ, we can enjoy the benefits of a relationship directly with God. Christ gives us that ability and it is because God loved us so much he gave us this way.
At the end of this Psalm, David asks God to search for any wickedness in his life. In Psalm 139:23-24 David says, 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. David is not challenging God to find him perfect, he is challenging God to identify sin and make it known so he can fix it. Too often we justify our sin and make excuses for the choices we make. If we are honest and open our hearts and minds to God, He will help us.
When God chose us, He did so before we ever chose Him. Just as God chose Jacob and Israel in Psalm 135:4 He chooses us today, For the Lord has chosen Jacob to be his own, Israel to be His treasured possession. God treasures us and gives love and mercy to all who believe, accept, and choose to have a relationship with Him.
Have you ever thought about what salvation really means? It means forgiveness of our sins and our sinful nature. It is literally God forgetting all the many and creative ways we sin. Psalm 130:3-4 says, 3 If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. If God kept a record of our sin, the burden would continue to be overwhelming. But God removes the weight and eternal consequences of sin and frees us to be who He intended us to be. Likewise, God gives us an example of how we are to forgive others. If we cannot release others from their transgressions against us, then we have not truly forgiven them.
We are not slaves to unrighteousness. God has set us free by His grace and love. Psalm 129:4 says, But the Lord is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked. Through our freedom found only through God’s perfect plan, we are no longer tied to sin. That doesn’t mean we are perfect, but through God’s power and grace we have the tools to be free from the damaging power of sin in our lives. Trusting and relying on God’s strength through the Holy Spirit is all we need to conquer sin.
If we as believers and followers of Christ cannot defend the weak, who will? In Psalm 82:3 Asaph says, Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. The powerful people of this world have the ability to do what they will, sometimes with little or no regard for others. If we do not stand for those who cannot stand for themselves, then no one will. We are to be a reflection of Christ who would have stood for the weak if He were here today.
May we always remember to be a reflection of Christ that helps lead others to Him. In Psalm 69:6 David says, May those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me, O Lord, the Lord Almighty; may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me, O God of Israel. We are not here to judge those around us, but to lead them to a relationship with God through Jesus Christ His Son. If our actions disgrace others and attempts to put them to shame, then we have failed in our role as followers of Christ.
We are all aware of our sinful nature. Some people choose to ignore it or blame their environment or circumstances, and some look for grace, mercy, and a changed heart. In Psalm 51:10 David says, Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Let David be our example of looking to God for a changed heart and a desire for righteousness through a relationship with Him.
On this day when we normally reflect on the week we left behind and focus on the one ahead, let us remember the true meaning of Christmas; the birth or our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. May we remember we are part of a bigger plan and will of God.
Merry Christmas to you and those you love!