In It for the Long Term

December 20, 2014

by Maria Fontaine

“The salvation of a soul is the miracle of a moment, but the manufacture of a saint is the task of a lifetime.”—Alan Redpath1

It’s wonderful at Christmas to think about the manger, the angels, and that night when Jesus came to earth. It’s a thought that we focus on for a few weeks over the Christmas season, and we might even ponder it from time to time throughout the year.

But that was only part of a much bigger picture. Jesus didn’t just pop down to earth so the angels could cheer Him on. He didn’t come here to just live a life. In fact, He didn’t even come here just to be born, live a life on earth, die for our sins, and rise from the dead. All those tremendously important things were only a starting point in the immensity of eternity. Since those few short years that Jesus lived on earth, He and the Holy Spirit have been with every person that is seeking to draw closer to Him; He is working day in and day out, life by life, to answer our heart cries.

God’s patience never wears thin when we fumble and stumble or wander off into troubles. He is always ready to respond to our petitions as He gently and steadily leads us back onto the path. He and the Holy Spirit are attuned to every detail of your life and my life, and He’s committed to us forever.

Jesus is in it for the long haul. How about you?

As Christians, we can get caught up in the moment of Christmas, the festivities and the fellowship and the warm feelings, but once these are over and our colored lights and carols cease, what can we do that will continue to be an expression of our love for the Lord?

One of the greatest gifts we can give to Jesus is our sharing His gift of salvation with others, giving His truth and His love to those who are struggling and lost. What can keep our hearts motivated to continue giving Him to others? Our motivation to give what we have to others can come from seeing the many blessings Jesus has brought into our lives, and staying mindful of the void in the lives of those who have yet to find Him.

We can anticipate the joys and wonders of heaven and experience the comfort of His Holy Spirit in times of struggle, while so many face the endless striving to find purpose and to know that this life is worth living.

We have His unconditional love and our connection with the source of all life, compared with the confusion and the aching void in so many hearts that all the things of this world can never fill.

We have the forgiveness and mercy of the one who saw us in our sin and chose to sacrifice Himself to give us a new beginning with Him. So many people struggle under the weight of guilt and condemnation for their mistakes without the understanding of how to be free of their burdens.

Even if what we can do to help others find God’s beautiful love seems small compared to the huge need, if He is in it, the results can expand beyond what we can even imagine. After all, that’s how it all began.

A part of the wonder of Christmas is the magnitude of what resulted from such small beginnings. What began with a tiny little babe in a tiny little manger, in a tiny little town in a tiny little country, became a vast and unending gift to an innumerable number of people for an immeasurable length of time.

That’s the wonder of the love of God!

Our minds can’t take it all in. Yet it’s ours. God committed Himself to us without end and without limit. As those we tell of Jesus open their hearts to Him, we can promise them the universe and forever in the arms of the one who sets no boundaries to the immensity of His love for us—and for them. Suddenly, even the spectacle of the heavens filled with angels that night seems minuscule compared to the wonders God Himself came to earth to personally deliver to you and me.

1 See more quotes here.