by Jim Estep
Christmas is past. By now many of us have removed the lights, disposed of the Christmas cards, packed away all the ornaments and even the tree, and we have also returned the nativity set to the attic.
We love Christmas. We love the image of Jesus as an innocent babe lying in a manger. We sing songs around this season emphasizing His nativity, His advent. We celebrate the savior!
We all love the image of Jesus as a baby; we all want a Savior. But all too often that’s all we want. Just keep Jesus as my Savior, as the babe in a manger. But Jesus is far more than our Savior!
If we don’t let Jesus grow up, if we keep Him a baby, then He cannot grow in our own lives today. If we just keep Jesus a baby, our faith will remain infantile.
We cannot treat Jesus like a life ring. Life rings are important; they are life savers. They hang on the wall just waiting to be put into use. Someone needs assistance, you take it off the wall, hold onto the rope, throw the ring into the water, they grab it, and you can pull them to safety, avoiding disaster, tragedy, and loss.
But what do we do with the life ring when it’s done its service? After it has saved a life, what becomes of it? We simply place it back on the wall, hang it back where we found it, and go on with life – at least until we need to use it again, confident it will be waiting there for us when we are in need.
Like the life ring, we love Jesus as Savior and cherish His arrival at Christmas. When we are in need, trouble, fallen and broken, we cry out, “Jesus save us;” He is, after all, Savior. But, once we are saved, what do we do with Him?
We put him back in His place, back in His manger, just like hanging a life ring back on the wall. Jesus has served His purpose, we think, and we don’t call upon Him until we need Him again. We let Him be the savior, but that’s all we want Him to be.
The smaller we keep Jesus, the less influence He can have on our lives. When we don’t let our understanding and appreciation of Jesus grow, then He doesn’t grow within us and our faith-life never matures, never grows. The smaller Jesus is in your life, the smaller your faithfulness.
Jesus is meant to be far more than Savior! Jesus is both Savior and King. When confronting the Jews on the Day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter proclaimed, “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).
Jesus is more than Savior. Jesus is our Prophet (Heb. 1:1-2). In light of our limited knowledge, He is our light (John 8:12). He is our Priest (1 Cor. 1:23-24, 30-31). And never forget, as our King, He rules (1 Cor. 15:28)
Jesus became so much more than a babe in the manger. He grew up, and He must become more to each and every one of us personally in our lives every day; He must be more than just an infant; after all, Jesus lived a sinless life and gave His life so that those who surrender to Him will live eternally. He must be both Savior and Lord to us.
Making Jesus More in 2021!
Can you imagine what the local church would be like if every believer would commit to spending one hour in the Word and prayer with Jesus, one hour worshipping Jesus, and one hour serving Jesus each week? What if that was just the start, that time every week would increase and Jesus would become all the more to us? Remember, as elders we first lead by example. Paul challenged the Corinthian Christians: “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). Can we challenge the people we serve and lead with the same challenge? As elders, do we increasingly know Jesus both as Savior and Lord of our lives?
Just think what December 31, 2021 will be like if every one of us surrenders to the Lordship of Jesus Christ from January 1, 2021! Jesus is no longer in the manger and He certainly is no longer on a cross. He is reigning as King over all kings and Lord of lords! Only when we submit to His reign over us can we hope to…lead well.