“The journey into Christ’s likeness is a lifelong process that cannot be fast tracked or artificially accelerated.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 23, 2021
By your endurance you will gain your lives. Luke 21:19, ESV
As we approach Christmas Day, all hearts and minds are focused upon the birth of Christ, and rightly so. It is here that God’s mission of love begins, entering into our world that we might be healed and restored to perfect union with him. And yet, we must never forget that the story that begins in the manger has both an aim and a trajectory, one that requires of Christ fidelity to the will of God, even when it leads him to a brutal death upon the cross.
In our own lives, we too must see how our beginnings invite us at the very same time into a life of faithful endurance to the very end. When we say yes to marriage on a wedding day, it is both a singular moment to be celebrated and an entry into an adventure that requires steady endurance through countless struggles and temptations. When we welcome a child into the world, we celebrate its first breath, yet also commit ourselves to the difficult and demanding work of child rearing, teaching them through word and deed to live life as a beloved child of God. Similarly, when we join a family of faith, we celebrate the joy of finding a church home, yet continue to press in and not flee as the patterns of brokenness in our lives and others come to be known and made clear.
What relationship or situation in your life is in most immediate need of endurance? Where have you been tempted to give up the good fight and no longer struggle against sin and death? How can you begin to reframe the commitments and journey of faith, not as a sprint or singular burst of passionate devotion, but a steadied and rooted faith that will endure to the very end?
The journey into Christ’s likeness is a lifelong process that cannot be fast tracked or artificially accelerated. The lives we long to live require enduring love for God and neighbor. And so, as we look to Christ this Christmas, let us not only see the beginning of the story of God, but in the babe let us also see Christ our Lord, who endured for our sakes that we might go and do the same.
“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised” (Hebrews 10:36, ESV).
Father, give us the strength to fight the good fight of faith, keeping our eyes set fully upon Christ, our hope and our healer. Amen.
Reflect upon the areas of your life that are most in need of an enduring faith, and invite the Lord to strengthen and guide you in that place.
Elizabeth Poston King’s College, Cambridge: Jesus Christ the Apple Tree
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