Today’s Streaming Faith Devotional sums up the true reason for the season.
If Jesus was not born, we probably would not have a savior, but God had a great plan.
In Need of a Savior
David Miller, a ministry friend of mine relates the story of the birth of his first child. When his son was born, David was sure that there had never been a child born to man and woman to compare to this special child. “But it wasn’t long after we brought him home from the hospital,” David relates, “that we realized that the chain of sin was still unbroken!”
We laughed when we heard David tell that story, but he makes an important point. His child was born with a sinful nature. You and I were, too. We all were. It is a legacy passed down from Adam. Each one of us at some point in our lives makes a conscious choice to disobey God and sin, but that is because we were born with a sinful nature, a bent toward sinning, if you will.
People sometimes get upset with you if you tell them they are a sinner. They think we are judging them, but in reality that is something that we have in common with them. The Apostle Paul said that he was the “chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). John reminded us that if we say we have not sinned we are a liar (1 John 1:8).
The late Rich Mullins (writer of “Awesome God” and “Sing Your Praise to the Lord”) told the story of getting stranded at an inn while on a hike. To meet back up with his party would require a ten mile walk and he was already spent from the day’s hike. He struck up a conversation with a man at the inn and in the course of the conversation, Mullins shared that he was a Christian musician. The man offered to give Mullins a ride to meet his party, but said there was something he needed to tell him first. “I am gay” the man told him. Rich chuckled and replied that he still needed a ride to the drop off point! As he took Rich to meet up with his hiking companions, the man was silent for most of the trip.
Finally he turned to Rich and asked, “Does God hate me?” Mullins wrote that the question, and the heart cry behind it broke his heart. He turned to the man and said, “God loves you as much as He loves me! Yes, God hates the sin in your life, but no more than he hates the sin in my life.” The man realized that in Rich Mullins he had found a friend, not a judge. That is how we need to relate to those around us, many of whom are struggling with sin. We aren’t better than them, we’re just forgiven. When I share Christ with others, I am just one beggar telling another beggar where I found food.
We tend to want to rank sin in order of severity, but God doesn’t make such distinctions. It’s true that in the Old Testament (Proverbs 6) there is a list of things God despises, but included on that list are lying and sowing discord among brothers. Ever lied before? (If your answer is no, read 1 John 1:8 again!) Sin is sin. It is all rebellion against Him. We are all in need of saving. We are all in need of a Savior.
That is what we celebrate this Christmas season. We need to look beyond all the hype and the materialism of the holiday and focus in on the baby in a manger in Bethlehem. The only child who ever chose to be born. The one who left the glory of heaven to save us from our sins.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 1 John 1:10-14 (NKJV)
Alan Riley is Vice President for Ministry and Media Development for 316 Networks (www.316Networks.com), Streaming Faith’s sister media property. From 2006-2009 he served as Director of Web Operations and Managing Editor for Streaming Faith. An ordained Baptist Minister, Alan is a frequent contributor to the Streaming Faith Daily Devotional. He can sometimes be found blogging at www.alansblog.com or more often opining in 140 characters or less at www.Twitter.com/AlanRiley.