Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Don't Miss the Moment This Christmas

The phrase “Timing is everything” means that the success of something is related to the time in which it happens. We see this correlation of timing and success in business, investing, music, athletics, and many other areas of life.

Timing is also a key factor in the spiritual realm. God determines the times and seasons in the world and coordinates them to help accomplish His purposes. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11; Acts 1:7)  

For example, consider Paul’s words in Galatians 4:4 (ESV):

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.” 

The phrase “fullness of time” refers to the fact that Christ’s birth was not a random event but was orchestrated by God for an exact moment in time. As the timing of the entrance of a character in a play is strategically placed by a playwright, so Christ’s birth was orchestrated by God.

Although God’s timing is perfect, people often miss it. It is astonishing in Matthew 2 that those in Jerusalem who heard about Christ’s birth from the wise men did not join in their pilgrimage to find and worship the newborn King. They missed out on witnessing the fulfillment of God’s promise and the joy of being a part of His plan.

Fast forward to our day. God is still at work in our world, yet it is possible for us as His children to miss out on what He is doing and His call for us to co-labor with Him in His mission.

Here are a few guidelines based on Matthew 2 that will help us to not “miss the moment” and join the Lord in His work.

1. Remember that God is at work even amid these challenging times. From a human standpoint, the timing of the birth of Christ was not ideal. Israel was occupied and ruled by a foreign power. Herod, the assigned ruler of the region, was a paranoid tyrant who ruled the people with an iron fist. Yet these were the conditions in which God chose for His plan to unfold.

Many would say that the current conditions are not ideal. Each day brings a slate of new headlines highlighting violent acts of rage and deepening division based on race, politics, economic status, and even health.

However, even during our uncertain times, God is still on the throne and His Great Commission is still in effect. For those of us who are His children, we have a choice. We can either allow our fears to distract us from Him and His mission, or we can respond by faith and join Him in His work.

2. Recognize that your focus determines your outlook. Even though Christ’s birth was predicted by the Old Testament, notice how the people of Jerusalem responded to the news of the wise men regarding Jesus’s birth in Matthew 2:3 (ESV), “When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” The news that should have brought joy and celebration produced fear and discouragement. Why? The fear of the people stemmed from the fact that they had their eyes on the earthly king, Herod, rather than the eternal King. Because of their misfocus, they missed God.

With all that is going on in our world, where is your focus? Is it on the circumstances you see on the news or is it on the God who controls all circumstances? Never let circumstances dictate your devotion and obedience to the Lord. Keep your eyes on Him.

3. Seek the Lord’s guidance daily. Notice how the Lord guided the wise men in Matthew 2:1-7. Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV) comes to mind, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” The guidance was not given all at once, but at various stages along the way.

God is not only still at work in our day, but also continues to guide His children as they join Him in His work. Draw near to God, even in the midst of what looks like chaos. Avail yourself to Him for His use. Ask Him to open your eyes to the people and opportunities around you. Seek Him for specific guidance on how to get involved. Pursue him to “direct your steps” to lead you to opportunities to share “the hope that is within you”.

4. Be flexible. Notice how Matthew 2 demonstrates God’s “out of the box” approach to accomplishing His purposes. God chose to use an unlikely people, the Magi, in an unlikely way, an unexpected visit from a distant country, to accomplish His purpose by bringing the very resources Mary and Joseph would need to make the move to an unexpected place, Egypt, as a part of His plan.

Our world is changing quickly. When change happens, it can lead to discouragement. We want things to remain the same and we want to keep our routines unchanged. Yet God often orchestrates the changing times for His purposes and asks us to adapt. Sometimes it involves a new strategy. Other times it involves a new environment. Ask the Lord for guidance on how He wants you to adapt and change to further His mission. Don’t let your rigidity cause you to forfeit an opportunity.

Our world is changing quickly, yet God and His mission remain the same. Will you join Him or “miss the moment”?

Copyright © December 2021 David Souther, used with permission.

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