Thursday, Dec. 22 – Micah Martin

22 Dec

Week 4: Love
Today’s Scripture:
Isaiah 29:13-24
Luke 9:23-36

Be astounded. Be humiliated. Be joy-filled.

Advent is a celebration of God’s decision to love and redeem us despite the fact that we did not love him and did not want his redemption. This passage from Isaiah describes his plan to “astound” us the hypocrites (vs. 14, NLT), which should “humiliate” us, and thus fill us with joy (vs.19, NLT). We did not want or deserve his love and yet he sends it. Be astounded! To astound is to overwhelm with amazement; to astonish greatly; to shock with wonder or surprise. Our astonishment comes when we realize that this love makes no sense humanly speaking. We would never do what He did. Our human nature is to love someone or something purely for our benefit. God’s nature is simply love. He can’t help but love because He is love. We are not. We are being redeemed to love, we are being transformed by love, but we are not yet love. We must confess our need for this love as we examine our lives and realize our previously condemned helpless state. He chose us. As we read this passage, we see our hypocrisy and we are humiliated. Be humiliated. This sounds purposely offensive, but humiliation is actually defined as the “loss of pride,” or the act of being made humble. The process is not enjoyable. This humiliation occurs through our recognition of our selfish condition and need for a savior. Exposing our hypocrisy should be humiliating. But verse 19 tells us that “the humble will be filled with fresh joy.” I want and need fresh joy often, but I don’t usually expect this joy to flow out of having my hypocrisy exposed. Our often self-focused lives do not produce joy. They usually produce dissatisfaction and often depression especially around Christmas time. I need to remember my need for redemption and be humbled frequently to find my joy in Christ. We need Him. (pause &reflect) We have Him. (pause &reflect) Now be filled with joy! Celebrate the Kingdom of God in us!

Prayer: Father, I am astounded by your love. It does not make sense to my human mind. I am humiliated by my hypocrisy. Thank you for exposing it and reminding me of it as we celebrate Jesus coming to our rescue as our redeeming king. I am filled with fresh joy today as I celebrate my need for you Jesus. Holy Spirit, help me develop in humility as I reflect on my need for your power to transform me into the Kingdom of God. I am astounded! I am humbled! I am full of joy!

-MM

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