Jesus says to us in John 15:4, “Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.” For us, this means being rooted and established in the truth of the Gospel and trusting in the Lord daily. And from this will come a over-abundance of fruit in our life…of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
You may have been like me…your parents took you to Church every Sunday, you participated in activities at Church, and you even memorized Bible verses. You had lots of head knowledge about God…but it never migrated south to your heart. It wasn’t until years later when I had a very personal encounter with Jesus, that my life was changed forever. So what happened? We can go through life knowing “about” something, but it’s not until we come to the full comprehension and experience it for ourselves that it’s made real. When God reveals the spiritual truth of just who Jesus Christ is to us and that He died for our sins…there is no longer any confusion. For the spotlight of truth shines brightly onto our wretched lives, and we see ourselves for what we really are…a sinner needing salvation.
For Mary, this was her first baby…and for the world, it was likewise a new beginning. For Mary, it was her first labor and delivery in rather dismal conditions.. for us, it was the gift of a new start. It tells us in Colossians 1:15 that, “He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born over all creation.” When that tiny baby was born, the manifestation of God the Father came to earth to dwell among us. And when Mary laid baby Jesus in that manger, surrounded by livestock and hay, the preeminence over all creation arrived to light the way for sinners.
Ephesians 4:22 tells us to put off our old selves…or rid ourselves of our old ways. But it’s almost impossible to do if you’re still hanging out with the same wrong friends… at places that got you in trouble before. Putting aside our old ways means we have to disarm our sins…exposing them to God’s truth and confessing them, but then ridding ourselves of whatever necessary to make a clean break from the past.