By Elder Lynette Shek
The season of advent is the period leading up to Christmas, and starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas day. The first Sunday traditionally celebrates hope, the second peace, the third joy and the last love. Our church has celebrated these themes in the past few years, and this year was no different. Last week, the theme was love, and Pastor Wei-en was the speaker. Interestingly, his message was about trusting God as an expression of our love for Him. He said “at the heart of love is trust”, and reminded us that we can trust God’s love for us.
That caused me to think about my love for God. We often say and sing that we love God, but what does that mean and how do we show the world (and ourselves) that we truly do? In John 14:15, Jesus said “If you love me, you will obey what I command”. Also in 1 John 5:3a, it says “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands”.
And so we demonstrate that we love God by obeying Him. What will help us obey God and thereby show that we love Him? I think the answer is trust. Obedience flows out of a heart that trusts. Trusting God means that you feel safe with Him, you know He has your greatest good at heart, He can be relied upon and that you have confidence that His promises will be fulfilled. Trusting God means that you can be vulnerable and surrendered to Him and obey Him without having to control or stress about things to protect yourself. Trusting God means that your desire is to see God’s kingdom established in your life and in your family because God has said “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). Trusting God means that you will give generously of your time and money to God’s work because he has said in Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
But we struggle to trust God. I struggle to trust God. If we are honest with ourselves, trusting God does not come easy. I know that for me, I struggle to trust and obey wholeheartedly because I wonder if God will come through for me and I think it is better to be safe by controlling, pursuing, rushing, grabbing. That has left me stressed and tired. Other times, I procrastinate, stress eat, watch television for long stretches or mindlessly surf the internet because I struggle to deal with negative emotions and worries. I do not trust God enough.
I need to stop and recount the many blessings God has poured upon me, and how He has worked things out for my good, even the things that were once painful and difficult. I need to re-script the difficult experiences in my mind and allow God to heal the hurts so that I can see His gracious hand in all of them. I have started this exercise and it has been a blessing.
May I suggest that we pause this Christmas spend at least half a day to just be with Him. May I encourage you to do 2 things – first, trust Him with your time, then trust Him with your heart. Ask yourself
- When has God come through for me? What are the many blessings I can thank God for?
- When have I felt God has not come through for me? Be honest with God, He can take it! Ask God to reveal His purposes in these things.
- What do the answers teach me about God’s love for me and my love for Him?
Dear brothers and sisters, over this Christmas season, we will sing and hear about God coming to be with us in the person of Jesus Christ. That was the greatest demonstration of love. May we grow in love, trust and obedience to our great Father.