Emmanuel puts skin on God’s love. I hope you will be encouraged as you read the amazing display of God’s love for you. When you finish reading this, I hope you will ask yourself a critical question (see below).
The Scriptures Are Pretty Convincing
The heart of God leans toward you at all times. “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” (Is. 65:24) This verse strongly hints that at the very split-second you even begin to train your thought toward God, at the tiny moment you start the motion of leaning into Him – He has already launched into action on your behalf. Wow.
God really, truly loves you deeply. His eye is always trained on you. “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” (2 Chron. 16:9) God’s great heart longs for your heart to Reach Back to His love. He longs to bless you.
“You have searched me, LORD, and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me.” (Ps. 139:1-5) This is a lot of intimate knowledge about you!
PONDER: God knows your every thought, your every longing, your hopes and dreams. He knows where you are afraid and where you feel weak and incapable. He knows your sorrows . . . and any areas of sin. Yet, His love for you is steadfast with all this personal knowledge about you.
God has made relational initiatives toward you through Jesus. He wants to be Emmanuel to you, not only during Advent, but every day of the year.
WRESTLE: If God is literally leaning toward you to answer you before you call and to hear you while you are still speaking, why are you hesitant to call to Him and tell Him all about your life? Where is there fear or doubt in your heart? What about personal agenda?
The God of Isaiah is your God today. Emmanuel: God with you. You never need to be alone again. This is hope. This is a reason to rejoice, even in hardship. Trust His love by choosing to surrender in everything. In humility, give Him control. In contrite trust, nestle into His abiding love – and give up any agendas. In respect, consider His words more valuable than your own. You can make a life-response.
Jesus made God tangible. The babe in the manger – Jesus – is the truth about God and you. He is with you and for you. He promised to never leave you. Emmanuel means “God With Us.” God With You! Won’t you respond with your life to His extravagant offer of relationship? This Christmas season, choose the Gift of Jesus!
Critical Question and Some Observations
At the beginning of this article, I suggested you ask yourself a critical question. I encourage you to answer this question . . . and to make some amazing observations:
“Do I really believe all this about God? If I do, then my life will look different, increasingly, as I trust and obey Him, as I rest in Him, and as He transforms me. God loves me and is for me at all times. I’m safe in Christ even when I’m in the depths of hardship. And – I am stunned that I can actually emulate the very character of the Son of God.”
* This article is a partial excerpt taken from Dec. 2 of my Advent book: Celebrate Advent: A Life-Response to Emmanuel. The italicized words above – humility, contrite trust, respect for His words – are the focus of Dec. 1 in this little resource.
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