Christianity for the Rest of Us

Familiarity is the formidable foe of faithfulness. Too often we can know the stories of scripture so well that we miss their uniqueness. So it is with the Christmas story. If the birth of Jesus doesn't disturb and disrupt your heart and mind, it's likely you've heard it so often you've become numb to it, or you never really heard it all. This week as we revisit the arrival of our Messiah, ask God to help you discover a new insight. As you read and contemplate, it's helpful to pray asking God, "Lord, show me what I've missed." We offer these devos to stir your heart and mind to rediscover the Christ of Christmas. As always feel free to repost or pass them on.

Read:

Matthew 1:24 “. . . and did as the angel commanded him . . .”  Matthew 2:14 “So Joseph got up . . .”  Matthew 2:21 “So Joseph got up . . .”

Reflect:

Often the Christian life is presented as being suited for only certain personality types – for the “spiritually astute,” or contemplative, urban monks who enjoy thinking deep thoughts, drinking over-priced coffee and writing in expensive, leather-bound journals; only for the ones prone to solitude, who read the Bible with use of cutting edge technology and delight in being secluded from the world.

Then, there’s the “type A” Christian who delights in doing long, extensive, complex bible studies, answering questions about the text, themselves and the meaning of life. It’s for the Christian over-achiever who loves to take surveys on everything from spiritual gifts to personal strength, all while attending multiple conferences at the same time.

Then, there is the other group called “the rest of us.”  Those of us who live lives filled with noise, who juggle the relentless duties of family and work. It’s the everyday Christian who struggles with weakness, loses their temper, shoots their mouth off, feels regret, gets confused, fails diets, breaks promises, becomes distracted and sometimes feels downright clueless.

In the Christmas story, it’s Joseph who is one of us, a regular guy, a guy with an honest trade, a carpenter who loved God. The text says he was a righteous man. At Mary’s birth announcement, he struggled with how to handle the whole ordeal. He felt fear and tension because religious tradition told him to follow the laws, however, his love for his bride told him to protect her. The angel told him to stay with Mary, he obeyed God. Got up and followed God fully. Three times (Matt. 1:24, 2:14, 21) we are told Joseph obeyed. 

Christianity is for anyone who’s willing to love Jesus and learn His ways and live them out. Anyone who’s willing to let truth run its course in life. Obedience happens when reading, listening and praying converge into the life we are living.

Respond:

Are you more concerned with being the kind of Christian you think everybody wants you to be? Spend some quiet moments in His presence, pray “give me a willing heart to be willing to follow You in all Your ways.”