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December Blog – Barns and palaces

‘All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for the census…and while they were there, the time came for the baby to be born…She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them…’ Luke 2.3-7

Jesus – the son of God – didn’t get a room in the Bethlehem Hilton.
He got a barn. He had a food trough as a bed.

He can identify with the people who don’t get ‘in’, in life.

There’s a popular teaching in Christian culture that promotes the idea that because you are a child of God you will and can experience blessing and wealth and health and so forth as a kind of ‘right’. Say it and its yours. This is apparently all for God’s glorification.

If the example of Jesus is anything to go by (and i think it is), then ‘rights’ is the very thing he gave up. From the outset – things didn’t just land favorably because he was the Child of God. He didn’t even get a room! At anytime he could have spoken out prosperity- and it would have been his in an instant – and yet he didn’t.

Why? Abundance wasn’t the most necessary tool of revealing God’s glory. Emptiness and identification with suffering people was God’s tool for revealing his Glory.

His life shows me that he had absolute favor = God was very pleased with him, and yet this didn’t result in ‘everything going his way’. If anything God displayed his Glory through a Christ who was emptied, not filled up. His life was marked by mayhem, by suffering, and by the riches of compassion and grace and humility.

I often note that when people ‘speak’ out what they want from God – those riches are not often on the list.

I say this not because I am rubbishing God’s ability to provide and look after you. He can – and we should bless Him when he does. I am saying it because God doesn’t only work that way. God also sanctifies you and glorifies himself with emptiness. You only see that God is everything when he is all you have!

So, don’t ask God for your ‘rights’ as a child of the Kingdom. Ask God for his will, and then bless Him in the barn or in the palace. Look for the riches of the Kingdom to be seen in your character and heart as well as your body and bank account.

Ps Mike

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