Friday, December 23, 2011

Whose Star Will You Follow?

A bright nebula...perhaps like the star that guided
the wise men.
     Recently, Time Magazine came out with the person of the year.  People look forward to guessing who might be chosen, and as this year draws to a close, T.V. commentators also pick the athlete of the year, movie star of the year and even the politician who has had the most impact.  Our society is good at applauding those who achieve something which can be both positive or negative.   We need to recognize those who have worked hard to find answers or finish a task, but we have to be careful lest winning the world's applause becomes our sole purpose in life.  Will we follow after "star status" or will we follow His star?
     The Westminster Confession of Faith says that we were created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, but at times, we are caught up with glorifying man and seeking for ways we can be lifted up.  It happens so gradually that we are not unlike the frog who leaps into a pot of cold water sitting on a stove.  The water heats up slowly, and the poor creature is unaware that soon he will be boiled dinner for someone.  We can end up like that frog if we aren't careful.
     In John 5:31-44, Jesus told the Pharisees who He was.  Verses 31-33 read:  "If I alone bear witness of Myself, My testimony is not true.  There is another who bears witness of Me; and I know that the testimony which He bears of Me is true.  You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth."
     Jesus goes on to clearly point out that not only John the Baptist had borne witness of Him but also God the Father who also gave signs and miracles and totally fulfilled all the prophecies in Jesus His beloved Son.  But Jesus cut to the heart of the matter in verses 39-44:  "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.  I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves.  I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another shall come in his own name, you will receive him.  How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another, and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?"
     At this time, the Pharisees were caught up in all the pomp, ceremonies and ritual.  They worried over keeping every jot and tittle of the Law but they cared little for the spirit of the Law.  They missed who Jesus was even though He performed miracles, had witnesses who testified of Him and had God's authority and power.  Yet, they would more quickly receive a man on his own say so over Jesus.  They were wrapped up in receiving glory from one another and forgot about seeking to glorify God.  How sad. This is, however, not unlike our world today.
     We can be caught up in this same trap.  It is so easy to pursue fame and honor for ourselves.  We can be so busy earning our neighbor's adoration that we can miss living to glorify God with our lives.  Using our talents to build our own stardom is not what God has called us to do.
     At Christmas, its easy to get wrapped up (no pun intended) in buying the most extravagant gifts or running from one activity to the next, but God wants us to wrap our hearts around Him.  He deserves our time, attention, and hearts; so lets be careful to avoid following the crowds or looking to men's approval.  Instead, may we seek how to glorify God and come into a deeper relationship with Him.  His star shines brightly and wise men still seek Him.  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts here.  Please feel free to share a word or two.  How do we get drawn away from the real meaning of Christmas?


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