Immanuel

Jesus Christ has many names but one of my favorites is Immanuel. It means God With Us. The significance of this name is hard to grasp in a world in which the toddler stage is no longer a stage that children grow out of, but a way of life. The idea that life is all about me and the attitude of I can do it myself has not only become accepted but widely promoted. So of course, most of the world and even many believers may wonder, what is so significant about the name Immanuel? Of course God would want to be with me, I’m great! Jesus can be a part of my life as long as He lets me do my own thing.

However, the truth is we are not great and we desperately need Him. We are all sinners and the Bible very specifically says God hates sin. Because of sin, Adam and Eve went from having perfect fellowship with God to being separated spiritually and then physically from Him. God is holy and it is against His very nature to be in the presence of sin. Adam and Eve could do nothing to repair the damage their sin had caused, but God already had a plan and it involved His Son, Immanuel.

Jesus left Heaven in obedience to His Father’s will and lowered Himself by becoming human and living for the sole purpose of dying. He enjoyed perfection with His Father and willingly left it to become a man destined for rejection and death.

Again, we live in a world marked by YOLO and achievement and proving yourself to the world. Yet Jesus came down to earth to live a life marked by abject humility. He came to die so that we wouldn’t have to. He was God yet He was so humble in His humanity that His own family did not comprehend His deity. His purpose was to fulfill the will of God for us and give Him all of the glory. His life on earth was about everyone but Himself. Even if you just do a quick survey of the gospels, you will find numerous examples of His humble mindset and heart.

So what does this mean for the believer? It means that the thirty plus years He lived before dying was not for the purpose of killing time until the big day. His life was an example for us to follow.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. | Philippians 2:1-7

Christmas is a wonderful time of year and a great time to be with loved ones but it should also remind us that the Son of God gave up the privilege that comes with deity to live with us and to die for us. His resurrection has reconciled us back to God and given us new purpose. Those who do not know Him as their personal Lord and Savior will continue to live for their own pursuits and glory. They will do things that make themselves feel good. Those who have been saved, have been saved for a purpose.

There is some obvious truth behind YOLO because we do only live once but we do not live for ourselves. We live to reflect Christ to a world that is broken and lost by serving one another and proclaiming the name of Christ. That means our wills have to be aligned to God’s will and it means that we come to the understanding that John the Baptist had concerning Jesus:

He must become greater; I must become less. | John 3:30

If humility is a foreign concept, or pride is something that you cannot seem to shake, spend time in prayer asking God for the right desires. This would be a prayer God would love to answer if you are only willing to ask.

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