Moment in the Word

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

The lowly stable scene is one of the most cherished images of the Christmas nativity. However, the reality of never having room in our hearts for Jesus becomes very ugly in the end!

Ministering to a group of people who initially accepted Him, Jesus said, “If you obey me, you will be my disciples. You will know what is true and that awareness will set you free!” John 8:31-32

Sounds good, right?

Maybe not! Why? As always, God demands we surrender our will to Him… through obedience. Sadly, humans do not like sacrificing personal agendas for the sake of anyone, including God. Usually, we do not have room in our lives for anything or anyone but US! We will tolerate the aspirations of others as long as they parallel our own, but when a conflict arises then WATCH OUT! Somebody has to go! Have you noticed the rate of divorce lately? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!

The situation that confronted Jesus as He tried to minister to a group of “would-be” disciples was exactly the same. As soon as the audience heard that Christ expected them to obey, they began saying, “Oh, we don’t need to be set free! We have NEVER been in bondage to anyone because we are the children of Abraham.” John 8:33

Honestly, their argument was tragically weak, considering that Moses delivered them from slavery in Egypt before they subsequently went back into bondage for seventy years in Babylon! Sometimes we really need to analyze our bogus excuses before we repeat them, simply to see if they’ll hold water. In this situation, the people’s answer to Jesus was horribly flawed.

Jesus immediately explained that a person who lives in sin is a slave to sin, and being a child of Abraham won’t alleviate the bondage of spiritual death. John 8:34-35

Oooops! He had them!

So, did they immediately agree that He was right, they were wrong, and everyone should obey his commandments to be liberated by God’s Truth?

Nope! Not even close! Instead, they raised their argument to the next level by declaring God was their father (even though moments before they had claimed Abraham). John 8:41 Isn’t it amazing how we can waffle and equivocate in the face of TRUTH? But the real problem was, these individuals just didn’t have room in their lives for Jesus! Much like the Christmas stable scene, we will quickly relegate God to a nasty ole barn before we allow Him to take His rightful place in our hearts!

In our current society, we need to hear the answer Jesus spoke to His defiant listeners, “If you knew God, then you would love Me because I came from God. I know Him! I speak for Him! And you should obey My commandments! But instead, you are the children of your father, the Devil! He was a liar, and you do not know the truth!” John 8:42-45

Ouch! There Jesus goes again… being non-politically correct! But the truth is still the TRUTH, whether people like to hear it or not!

If every single person who claims some vague association with a nondescript deity, really knew God, then the New Testament ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be paramount in our world today (which obviously they are not)! We chirp, “WWJD,” which has become a secular code for, “Hump up! Shut up! Don’t make waves! Go along to get along!” However, without purposely making room in our lives for obedience to the righteous commandments of Christ, we continue to drive God’s Son to the barn in deference to Satan’s lies. We prefer Darkness to Light and spiritual bondage to the liberation of Truth!

Edwin Woolsey’s family has lived in Shannon, Texas, and Howell counties since 1860. He taught 31 years at Missouri public schools and is currently the pastor of a small country congregation at Pilgrim Rest Community Church. Follow him on Twitter at @edwinwoolsey.

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