by Tiffany S.
from Virtuous Daughters, December 2017/January 2018~Volume 17, Number 5
…I was recently thinking about this Christmas season. Ever since my siblings and I were young, our mom encouraged us to think of something we could give to the Lord at Christmastime. This might seem like a simple tradition, but it has been helpful for me to ponder...what can I commit to the Lord during the new year?
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”—Titus 2:11–14
Certainly, “good works” do not earn or secure our salvation. (See Ephesians 2:8-9!) However, the natural overflow of faith in God is deep gratitude for His saving grace; this results in a desire to serve Him effectively. “Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things He hath done for you.”—1 Samuel 12:24 I recently heard a quote along these lines, “The gratitude I cannot express in words to God, I seek to express in works.”
Dear sisters, may we consider what great things God has done for us! If you have trusted in Christ for salvation, He has promised deliverance from eternal judgment (God’s mercy!) and eternity in His presence (God’s grace!)...and this is just the beginning of the countless spiritual blessings we have in Christ! Does this not motivate us to serve Him wholeheartedly?! Hudson Taylor, in reminiscing on a life spent in ministry, wrote: “I never made a sacrifice....Unspeakable joy all day long and every day, was my happy experience. God, even my God, was a living bright reality, and all I had to do was joyful service.”
The world pressures young people to adapt a me-centered, shallow existence. I remember upon high school graduation being with a group of fellow seniors. How it saddened me to hear the general flow of conversation! Though nothing innately sinful, the focus on sports, movies, and online entertainment was clearly lacking eternal value. Even the career paths and post-high school plans that the guys and girls had carved out were sadly devoid of any emphasis on God’s glory.
The Lord used this experience to draw me closer to Himself, as I asked Him to reveal His will and grand purpose for life. He showed me the beautiful, fulfilling call of serving God and living with eternity in mind. “But rather seek ye the kingdom of God....sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”—Luke 12:31–34
Too often, we have a shallow perspective on life purpose: 1) What do I want to do with “my” life? and 2) How can I glorify God through that? This seems like a twisted priority system, according to biblical standards! Instead, consider the apostle Paul’s questions, when he met the Lord: “Who art thou, Lord?” and “What would You have me to do?” (See Acts 9.) Are we eagerly studying Who God is and what He would have us to do?!
God’s ways are infinitely higher than our own, and His purpose for our lives far surpasses anything the world has to offer. The details of God’s specific plan will differ from Christian to Christian; but His ultimate design for every believer remains the same: that we would glorify Him through a life of joyful, obedient service. Dear sisters, He is worthy!! “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”—Revelation 4:11
Not all of us are called to be missionaries to China like Hudson Taylor, but all of us should learn from his example. The focus of his entire life was loving his Savior and impacting others for Christ. He stayed close to the Lord and followed where He led. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:”—John 10:27
As we celebrate the gift of our Savior this Christmas season and prepare for the new year, let us examine our hearts...are we caught up in acquiring fleeting treasures or working toward self-gain? If so, we need to seek the Lord for wisdom regarding how we can effectively serve HIM and invest in eternal treasures.
Many ideas for how to accomplish this could be expounded, but the practics of it should ultimately be determined through prayer and time in the Word. The Lord will be faithful to show us. Glean from the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31. The overflow of her fear of the Lord was a life of service, ultimately to God Himself. It is exciting to serve the Lord; the possibilities are endless and quite varied from day to day! As I said, if we are faithfully seeking the Lord, He will guide us into His will. It might be getting a cup of water for our little brother today, sharing the Gospel with a store clerk tomorrow, and serving in “official” ministry the next day, but all of it is of eternal value if we are ultimately serving the Lord Himself!
Most importantly in this new year, may we keep our eyes on Jesus Christ. We cannot hope to accomplish any good thing in our own strength. Christ is our Strength and Redeemer; He is the One Who gives purpose and meaning to life. May we look to Him to live His life through us. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.”—John 15:5 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”—Galatians 2:20
Let’s pray for each other, dear sisters, as we trust the Lord to lead us each day. Even as I share these things with you, I am convicted of my own self-focus those times when I decide how I would like to serve God. (I, I, I....) Yet my prayer is that, like Mary, I would say, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word...”—Luke 1:38
May you find many ways to express your gratitude to the Savior this Christmas season, and may the new year be filled to overflowing with praises to God through joyful, obedient service to Him!
The Article Library
This "Library" contains articles that were published in previous issues of Virtuous Daughters. It will keep growing as we continue to upload articles from the 20 years of printing. We pray they are an encouragement to you!