Hey, friends! I can’t wait to introduce you to my sweet amiga Betsy Gómez! Betsy manages the blogs for the Revive Our Hearts Spanish outreach, Aviva Nuestros Corazones. And here’s something you may not know: LYWB.com has a Spanish sister! The Joven Verdadera blog helps Spanish-speaking young women walk in Truth, just like we’re doing over here! Let’s give Betsy a giant, warm welcome as she infuses some serious gospel goodness into our Christmas season. —Samantha, LYWB.com manager
I’m not writing to send you a wish list or to try to convince us both I’ve been good all year. I am writing from my heart.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard, “Be good, and Santa Claus will bring you gifts at Christmas.” I’ve tried (for goodness sake!). I did my best in school, I tried to do my chores, I tried to be a good daughter, friend, Christian . . . but the new year barely begins each year before I realize I can’t be good all the time.
I’m not a little girl anymore, and I know you don’t exist. My fantasy bubble burst when I realized that my parents were actually the ones behind the ploy that required my obedience in exchange for gifts.
I’ve learned enough to understand that your jolly grandpa image is a reflection of society’s worldview: “Perfect girls are worth more.”
For a long time “you get what you deserve” defined my whole way of seeing life—and much worse, it defined my idea of God. Until one day, my eyes were opened and I discovered the “the unearned gift” of grace.
Adam and Eve were given a paradise that they didn’t work for, with abundance that they didn’t produce. They lived in a world that was “very good.” But sin ruined this dynamic.
For the first time in history, human beings would experience the consequences of their rebellion against God’s best. Because they rebelled against the One who gave them life, their sin warranted the punishment of death.
Since then “you get what you deserve” was the rule that set the tone in the world, bringing pain and bad news. I feel it every time I try to earn the gifts God desires to give me.
Christmas isn’t about being good enough. It’s a celebration of a Savior who came to die for sinners who could never be good enough. On the most glorious day that ever existed, the Son of God reversed the wheel of death with the greatest of gifts, His life.
Jesus was the only one who lived a perfect life and paradoxically volunteered to receive what He did not deserve. He hung on a cross and died unjustly in my place.
With His sacrifice He won the favor and complete approval of God and when He rose again He conquered the power of death, of the eternal punishment that had mankind bound to an eternity without God.
Do you know what Jesus did when He received that gift of the Father’s approval? He handed it over to sinners who had done absolutely nothing to deserve it. That’s why the gospel is called Good News! It’s the news the choir of angels came to sing about!
Santa, I no longer have a wish list. They joy I’ve searched for was received from the hands of the One who gave me the undeserved gift. Today I am free of the guilt that weighed on my shoulders from believing my good behavior defines my relationship with God.
I am free knowing that when God sees me, He looks at the perfect work of Christ in my place.
I am free from the chains that bound me to my performance and failed perfection.
I am free from shame because my Savior erased my record and put A+ in each of the boxes that God evaluated.
I can run with confidence to His throne convinced that I will receive grace. There is no greater freedom! There is no greater gift!
Santa, with you I learned the dissatisfaction of not fulfilling the standard; I realized I am far from being good, but Jesus taught me that this is the prerequisite to obtain the gift that will never perish, the unmerited gift of salvation. What a great joy!
PS: Don’t take my word for it. Listen to what God says in His Word.
“All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Rom. 3:12).
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:23–24).
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6:23).
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).
- Do you measure God’s approval according to your behavior? Do you feel tired of trying to gain God’s favor with the things you do for Him?
- When you fail, do you feel like you should hide from God, or do you run into His arms in repentance knowing that Christ paid the price of all your sins?
While some may find our ministry goals for 2019 ambitious, we prefer to think of them as God-sized! Our faith grows as we remember all He has helped us accomplish in 2018. To help our team continue to offer more meaningful blog posts like this one, please consider partnering with us in offering True Hope to many in the year ahead. Find out more at ReviveOurHearts.com/hope.