Give Up/Take Up. This is what Jesus did for us at Christmas and beyond. We must do the same for Him.
17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the LORD. 18 There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
When Jesus left glory, He gave up His position beside the Father–temporarily, of course–and came and took up OUR cross so that we could have eternal life with Him. The apostle Paul stated this truth like this:
That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:19b-21
The writer of Hebrews stated this same truth:
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
Lest we think that Jesus earned this position rather than returned to it, here are His words on the matter:
5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. John 17:5 and 24
When we think of “baby Jesus,” let’s remember
who He is and from where He came!
Because Jesus sits at the right hand of God and has been given all authority (Matthew 28:18), He equips us with everything we need (Hebrews 13:20-21), but not to act independently of Him (Romans 8:12-14). In fact, we have His “very great and precious promises so that through them we may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 2 Peter 1:4.
Here’s the process:
- We give up corruption and take up His divine nature.
- We give up doing things our way and take up doing things WITH HIM His way.
- We give up gain in this world to take up gain in His world (heaven).
- We give up serving Satan in this kingdom to take up serving Christ in His kingdom: Christ’s kingdom exists beyond this world, yet includes this world. Christ’s kingdom is somewhere to which we will go when we die, but at the same time is within us. Christ’s kingdom is growing in us like a mustard seed and yeast (Matthew 13:31-33); eventually, it will take over our lives as we leave this world to walk in His. His goal for us is that we give up the things of this world and take up anything and everything that grows His kingdom in us. Our perceptions change as we get glimpses of His kingdom. His truths become our truths; His ways become our ways, and we begin to look like Him. Two of my favorite verses are:
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. Romans 8:29
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
May we take this Christmas time to reflect on all that He has done for us and renew our pledge of fealty to Him afresh and anew.
Abba, I like those words: Conformed and Transformed. I want to be conformed and transformed with ever-increasing glory into the image of Your Son, Jesus. May we all do everything we know to make Your plan for us to become a reality sooner rather than later. Thank You for the promise that the good work that you began in us You will carry on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6) when He brings unity to all things in heaven and on earth under His reign (Ephesians 1:10). Until then, I am Your humble servant. Amen.