cart before the horse, how to eliminate stress and walk in love this christmas

 

We all want to eliminate stress and walk in love, especially at Christmas. However, we often feel frustrated and defeated in our attempts to do that. If only we could find the answer.

 

OUR FIRST PRIORITY

Here is one key that can help: Remember our first priority is time with Jesus.

In other words, we won’t have strength to serve God (or others) with our gifts and talents before we spend quality time with Him.

You’ve heard the saying “Don’t put the cart before the horse.” Who would ever hitch a horse behind a cart? It makes no sense because it takes horsepower to pull a cart. That cart is going nowhere fast if it’s in front of the horse!

Let’s bring this idea into the Christmas season. Can you imagine Santa hitching the sleigh full of gifts in front of the reindeer? Ho ho ho!

No, I haven’t forgotten to put Christ into Christmas, but bear with me a minute while I develop my analogy. You have gifts and talents the Lord has given you that you can’t wait to share with others. Most of all, you want everyone to know the Giver of those gifts. You have lovingly loaded them into the sleigh in anticipation of delivering them. But with no reindeer, those gifts are going nowhere. Not only that, only Santa can load the sleigh, only Santa can hitch the reindeer, and only when Santa knows your name can the proper gifts be delivered.

Likewise, Jesus who knows your name is in charge of delivering your gifts. Put down that heavy sack and let Him carry it.

eliminate stress and walk in love this Christmas, woman carrying boxes

 

 

RELATIONSHIP COMES FIRST

Jesus gave the disciples the Great Commission before he ascended into heaven.

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

 However, Jesus spent three years eating, drinking, and living daily with the twelve before He told them to go make disciples. Relationship with Him came first.

Likewise, our relationship with Him takes priority over our working for Him.

The religious leaders paid close attention to what Jesus preached, and often peppered Him with questions to try to catch Him disobeying the Law. However, Jesus always answered with wisdom that dismantled their trickery.

One scribe was impressed with Jesus’ response. He asked Him,

Teacher, which commandment is the greatest of all?” Jesus answered him, “The most important of all the commandments is this: ‘The Lord Yahweh, our God, is one!’ You are to love the Lord Yahweh, your God, with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, with every thought that is within you, and with all your strength. This is the great and supreme commandment. And the second is this: ‘You must love your neighbor in the same way you love yourself.’ You will never find a greater commandment than these.” Mark 12:28b-31 TPT

The Great Commandment (to love God) comes before the Great Commission (go make disciples.) Love supersedes all other laws.

Jack Frost (yes, that’s his real name), in his book, Spiritual Slavery to Spiritual Sonship wrote:

“His (God’s) desire for us is that we receive His love and give it away, thus fulfilling the Great Commission.

“The Great Commandment to love God and love others is a call to intimacy; the Great Commission to go and make disciples is a call to fruitfulness. Intimacy is to precede fruitfulness. The Great Commandment must precede the Great Commission and is an inseparable part of it. When intimacy does not precede fruitfulness, we easily become subject to our own mission and become focused upon religious duty, hyper-religious activity, and aggressive striving that leaves an angry edge in our life and relationships.”

How many of you have experienced this scenario? (By the way, I’m raising my hand.)

You get up Sunday morning, give the kids a wakeup call, and make a quick breakfast. Twenty minutes later, when no one has moved from under the covers, you move into drill sergeant mode, “Get up or we’ll be late!!” A thick atmosphere of smoldering annoyance permeates the drive to church. Sound familiar?

When my five kids lived at home, we were in church three times a week, no questions asked. Too often my mood reflected striving to do the religious thing. Unfortunately, spending time in church does not necessarily mean spending time with Jesus. Building a loving relationship with our kids reflects more of a Christ-like attitude than religious activity.

 

 WE ARE DRAWN TO THE LORD BY LOVE AND NOT BY OBLIGATION

I’m not saying don’t take your kids to church, but I am saying that the more our actions reflect the love that we feel coming from our own friendship with God, the more our children, our neighbors, our friends, and all whom we touch will respond to the gospel.

Quoting again from Spiritual Slavery to Spiritual Sonship, Jack Frost wrote,

“How do you recognize a person who truly knows and loves God?… By how much Bible they know? No. You recognize a person who knows God by the life of love, compassion, and tenderness he or she shows behind closed doors with family and peers when no one else is looking. A person who loves God is one who seeks for the love of God to be made mature and complete in his or her daily relationships.”

The Message Bible paraphrases it this way:

1 John 4:17-18 TM “God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us.”

 In a nutshell, not only does the Great Commandment (love God and one another) come before the Great Commission (go and preach the gospel), but when we walk in the Great Commandment, the Great Commission will be fulfilled in us automatically without effort.

So how do we eliminate stress and walk in love? We spend time with the One who loves us with no strings attached.

Go ahead and put down your load. Let’s quit judging ourselves and allow His love to penetrate our hearts.

This Christmas let’s meditate on Jesus’ unfathomable love for us. He desired our love so much He was willing to come as a baby so He could reach us. Let’s reach out to Him.

Enjoy your holiday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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