Today I want to share one more lesson that has deeply impacted me because I have been privileged to be the mom of four young children. And that is that as a mom I have been given just a very small glimpse of what it means to sacrifice your life for others in the way Jesus did.
It seems that the message of American culture tells me a few things:
1. You should look out for yourself.
2. Your life should be easy and free from struggle or hardship.
3. People that make your life difficult should be kicked to the curb.
4. At the end of the day, if you have made yourself happy, then that is all that matters.
The longer I have been a Christian, a wife and a mother, the more I see through the smoke filter of these lies. We were not created to simply look out for ourselves and create a life that would bring us comfort and ease. And we see this most clearly in the example of Jesus and what His coming, life, death and resurrection meant for people. Jesus showed us that:
1. True joy is found in laying down your life for others.
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
(1 John 3:16 ESV)
2. Life will be hard and bring suffering if you are living a life in accordance with God’s will.
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,
(Philippians 1:29 ESV)
3. The people who are most difficult are often those who need your love and grace the most.
And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
(Mark 2:17 ESV)
4. At the end of your life, if you have shared the message of Jesus and loved others well than you have fulfilled your ultimate purpose of bringing glory to God’s name.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
(2 Timothy 4:6-8 ESV)
These truths have become more real through being a mother than in any other part of my life. And especially in being a mother beyond what I thought “comfortable”. I am so thankful (although I don’t always act thankful) that I have been pushed beyond my limits with having four young children. And I understand that I have not even been pushed nearly as far as many. But I know what it is like to:
- have requests made of me almost every waking minute of the kids’ days
- be the last to sit down and eat the meal I prepared
- hear very little “thank you’s” in relation to the work that I do throughout the day
- have no “day off”, but be on call 24 hours a day
- try to squeeze in my own time for things like quiet reading and prayer, exercise, and even blog posts
All of this has shown me that Jesus coming to earth was a bigger sacrifice than I can ever imagine. He suffered and served and loved and shed his own blood for His people who wanted nothing to do with Him. He chose the road of suffering, hardship, pain and abandonment. He washed a man’s feet that he knew would deny he even knew him a few hours later and prayed for those who killed him. Jesus did not succumb to the instant fix or temporary pleasure that this world has to offer.
May we reflect this Christmas weekend on what it truly meant for Jesus to leave the right hand of the Father and come to earth to suffer alongside us. To bear our sins fully on Himself so that we might never bear them again. May this weekend not be just about giving gifts to loved ones, but about blessing those who have no hope and are unlovable. Praise God that Jesus did that for us and has left us the power to do that for others as well. May your Christmas be merry and bright as you shine a light for Jesus.