Devotions this week based on Sunday’s Message: Peace is the Heart of Christmas! (LISTEN HERE)
How are your relationships doing?
Are your relationships at peace?
It may be easy to answer, “Yes, they are!” to this question.
But are they?
How do you know? Perhaps a few questions.
Is there someone in your work place, school, or church with whom you are ok not interacting and avoiding?
Is there someone with whom you have to interact regularly that irritates you, but you put on a happy facade and pretend everything is ok?
When someone asks you, “How are you doing?” you say, “OK” but really you want to lay into them and “let them have it”?
Because very few of us enjoy or willing to engage in conflict, we often settle for a superficial peace with others. On the outside, it “seems” like everything is good…we may even say that it is, but inside there is a rift and resentment that is growing.
So how does the gift of Jesus in Bethlehem affect peace in our relationships with others?
While I’m not a huge fan of the “What would Jesus do?” phrase, I do appreciate the thought, “What has Jesus done?” When I look at what Jesus has done for me, it inspires and motivates me to interact with others the same way. It is not easy, but there is blessing when Jesus’ interaction with me can inspire and empower me to engage with others in a similar way.
- Jesus came for me because he loved me. Jesus helps me to see people and love them.
We love because he first loved us. I was not the perfect, huggable, lovable person we seek to have in other people. I was a natural enemy of God, yet Jesus came because he loved me. While I was still sinful, Jesus loved me.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- Jesus came for me to forgive me. Jesus helps me to interact with people and forgive them.
Jesus came to this world to restore my relationship with his heavenly Father. In order to do that a perfect life was needed and payment for sin was needed. He did both…for me. Only because of the forgiveness of Jesus am I able to now “forgive as I have been forgiven.”
Galatians 4:3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
- Jesus came to serve me. Jesus helps me see people’s needs and serve them.
Jesus had every right to demand others serve him. He had the right to refuse to serve people who sinned against him. But he didn’t. Without any return on his investment of time, he served us to save us. So, as hard as it is, we serve others because we have been served by Jesus…even when it is hard or “not deserved.”
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Is living at peace, true peace, with people easy? Nope. But true peace is much more a blessing than superficial peace. So receive the gift of Jesus as a gift to your relationships and learn from him to love, forgive and serve as you have been loved, forgiven and served.
Apply: Think of a relationship in which you are experiencing a more superficial peace. How might Jesus’ love, forgiveness, or service motivate you to work to restore a true peace with that individual?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for loving, forgiving and serving me. Help me to build peace with others by loving, forgiving and serving them. AMEN.