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ADVENT: Worship

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This advent, this Christmas we are looking at Jesus birth in what is to my heart a refreshing and powerful way.  Jesus didn't come to earth to be a cute baby, to make a nativity scene on your mantel, or to fill your stockings with your latest desires and idols (funny we celebrate the one who came to free us from our idols by encouraging idol worship and giving idols).  The God of the universe incarnated himself for a much greater purpose and a much greater love.  The God of the universe became a created human in order to rescue his dearest and most prized creation.  The God of the universe became flesh in order to reverse and conquer the one lie and all the effects there of.  The great lie is that in some way God is holding out on us.  In some way he doesn't love us, doesn't want what's best, and that if we do it our way it will be better (read Genesis 3 asking the question of what is the snake really saying).  

I was reading that Genesis 3 the other day and something new hit me about this.  I read Eve's response to God as he asked her what happened.  She says, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."  I think there is so much in this.  There is a world of emotion and loss.  I have always heard it taught in the light of she is trying to hide what she had done.  But what if, just what if this is a full confession of a woman who just knew that she had lost everything her heart had ever desired.  She is a woman who had lost the presence of the God-man-creator that fills her heart.  She had lost innocence, freedom, and hope.  What if she is fully aware in this moment that she had been deceived and she bit into the lie.  I see her then, crushed under the weight of loss, more than crest fallen, almost comatose as the words fall slowly from her lips in quiet tones, "The serpent deceived me.....and I ate." Oh God, she says, I just traded you for something that gives death and not life!  I didn't believe your words.  You were right!  I am standing here next to you and I am too ashamed to be near you!  I am deceived and I have lost it all!

The first lie is that there is something better than God's presence.  Some object, some control, some relationship, some job, somebodies worship of you.  These are the idols that we in turn trade in place of the one thing that would satisfy, that would heal, that would restore, that would give peace and security.  I think Eve fully realized in that moment the depths of the deception and the loss. 

But God...good words...but God came to rescue us back to himself, to innocence, freedom, and hope.  He came as Jesus to rescue back worship, heal the wounded, be our strength when we are weak and win the war of lies and truth.  But God did not leave us in this state but rather promised to crush the snake and reverse the lie, restore his creation, and make a people of His own character.  "Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men."  

This Christmas, we are celebrating Jesus brith, our God become man, as the act of God to rescue us from that lie and its effects.  I encourage you to stand in shock as Eve did for a moment as the Holy Spirit brings to your heart what you have traded in place of God's presence.  Say the same words as she did, "The serpent deceived me...and I ate."  But don't stop there.  For Christ came to rescue us from our false worship, to display the depths of His love for us on the cross, and to conquer the death statement that false worship brings.  Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart and you will be saved.  We can move back to a worship of the presence of God and the one who made that possible.  Make space for worship of Him this Christmas and declare the places that He is freeing you of false worship.  May your gift giving be in response to His great gift giving.  Put traditions in place that tell the story of a baby going to Gethsemany to declare His love and your worth.  Make your time and your dinner table a proclamation of the incarnation to free you from your sin.  And I pray that our conversations would be an outpouring of thankfulness for a God that loves us so much he would restore us from the crestfallen loss, to a heart of hope and confidence in His immeasurable love.