If you’re going to assemble this Christmas puzzle [see yesterday’s blog] you will need to see the correct picture on the box lid, let it guide you, have good lighting, and great patience.
Pastor Steve’s four-point application* of what the Angel’s proclamation to Mary means to each soul today parallel the basics of good puzzle assembling:
Experience – the Grace of God
Believe – the Word of God
Allow – the Spirit of God to guide
Accomplish – the Will of God
Experience – the Grace of God (see the full picture)
When a person acknowledges that Jesus is God incarnate, that He came to rescue us from our sinful alienation by paying the price Himself for the sin debt we incurred, when we fall before Him, confessing our guilt, inviting His Spirit to direct our steps, and turn away from evil… when we have done this we have seen the big picture, the love and grace that painted the picture of Jesus on the box cover. This is the correct picture, the frame of the puzzle.
C. S. Lewis said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
When you have seen the picture on box lid you know what to do with all the pieces inside. When you see God’s love and plan in Jesus Christ you have the framework for all the bits of this life. You know exactly what you are to do with them.
Believe – the Word of God (let it guide you)
This is what we Do to fill in the middle. We believe that all the pieces are in the box. When we go looking for a missing bit we look in this box. We do not go rummaging through other boxes, hunt through the floor vents or under other things on the table. We know and believe that all the pieces we need are provided to us in the one box we received from the beginning.
“His divine power has given use everything we need for a godly life…” (2 Pet. 1:3)
Allow – the Spirit of God to guide (illumination, good lighting)
We don’t have to assemble this puzzle alone! Jesus gives us His own Spirit to dwell within us!
“…the Spirit of truth… will guide you into all the truth. … the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (John 16:13, 15)
“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor. 1:21, 22)
“…When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession…” (Eph. 1:13, 14)
“Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” (2 Tim. 1:14)
Accomplish – the Will of God (be patient)
What is the Will of God? He wants to re-assemble us! We may not notice it at first, but as we diligently work away at the puzzle, staring constantly at it day by day, we are changing. The image of the puzzle slowly alters our image. We become like Christ!
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate a the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18)
This is the great message of Christmas! Hope! Sure Hope! Something to anticipate, to work toward with God, something to celebrate, something for which to praise Him – forever!
* to hear Pastor Steve’s complete message click here, look under Media for the Dec. 2 audio file.