Everyone talks about love and giving at Christmas time, making this a magical time of year. Love and giving, more than anything else, reflect the heart of God. The Bible says God is love and that He loved the World so much He gave His Son. That’s what Christmas is all about. The self-sacrificing, other-centered, giving love of God found in Christ Jesus. A love that came to teach us how to deny ourselves and give our lives away, just like He did.

In the past, I thought denying myself meant I didn’t have the right to lose my temper and that I needed to be patient with people. And while I still hold to that, I am beginning to see that denying myself means dying to myself so that He may live more fully in and through me. And that only happens when I am abiding in Him.

Jesus talked a lot about our abiding in Him in John 15. He said He is the Vine, and we are the branches, and when we abide in Him, His very life will pour into us, and we will bear fruit. Not only that but while we are abiding, the Father prunes off all our junk. I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of junk that needs to be pruned. Stuff like false dependencies, fear, emotional eating, and all sorts of other self-stuff.

A few weeks ago, I was cruising on this revelation and having the best time abiding in Jesus. I went for nearly three weeks with my head and heart full of thoughts about Him, and denying myself was effortless because I wasn’t on my mind. Pushing away plates full of sugary goodies was no problem, and I wasn’t getting offended by others, or my feelings hurt when my husband was short-tempered.

Then, I let the busyness of Christmas get to me, and the next thing you know, the gift-giving effort made me forget the Gift God gave us. Once again, life became all about me; how I felt, and what I needed and wanted. My self-denial went down the tubes and was replaced by a sugar binge, some trashy tv, and a series of fights with the hubs.

This cycle has happened countless times before, but I have been paying more attention to the process and noticed some interesting things. To abide in Christ means “to spend time with, to dwell and linger in His presence, and to seek Him with all your heart.”  But when I’m not letting Jesus occupy that spot, I’m still abiding; I’m just abiding in the wrong thing(s).

I might be abiding in the sugary treats someone just dropped off for Christmas. They will occupy my head, then I will linger in the kitchen until they are on my plate and in my mouth. Again and again and again. I will also abide in problems. I will think about them, ponder them, and dwell on them, which will usually lead to more sugary treats. And all that leads to my abiding in mindless tv shows, which often makes me think that other people’s relationships are better than mine, which triggers marital neediness, hurt feelings, and more eating.

This Christmas Holy Spirit has given me the gift of a distinct revelation. We were created to dwell and abide in Him, but we lost our way at the fall. Since then, we have been abiding in all the wrong things. Jesus came in the flesh to teach us how to get our life back. We get our life back by giving it to Him. It’s not arduous to abide in Him. It’s difficult not to! Trust me on this one, if you aren’t abiding in Him, you are abiding in something that’s draining your life.

We only find our lives when we give them away. Give yourself to Jesus for Christmas! See you next year!!



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