Conforming to Christ on Christmas

As people across the globe enter into Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I am reminded of and sobered by God’s declaration that His thoughts and ways are not like our thoughts and ways.

1Isaiah 55:8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

They do not know God’s ways but declare they honor God with their own ways, and, of course, Scripture speaks to this as well.

Isaiah 29:13 And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.

We see in this verse that people appeared to be worshiping God – even saying the right words – but God says that, in spite of our talk, our hearts and minds may not truly be revering God.

God, in identifying a nation as His own, clearly warned them against adopting the same methods that the heathen used to worship their false gods.

Hauling the Yule LogThe Scripture in Deuteronomy 12:29-31 further elaborates for us: “When the Lord your God goes ahead of you and destroys the nations and you drive them out and live in their land, do not fall into the trap of following their customs and worshiping their gods. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.’ You must not worship the Lord your God the way the other nations worship their gods, for they perform for their gods every detestable act that the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to their gods.”

But we are given good news of a change of heart for those to whom God has granted His Holy Spirit. God’s spirit grants the gift of godly understanding so that a person can begin to think like God and walk in His ways.


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In Acts 2:38, Peter admonishes with these words, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Paul further describes that precious gift in Romans 8:15-17: So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us (1 Corinthians 2:10-12).

With these wonderful truths in mind, let us not neglect to know the word of God and His will, because people will be practicing any number of pagan traditions over the next couple of days and doing so with the intent to honor Christ the King. They will be praising God with their lips, but by action merely following in the traditions of men.


1All scriptural references are from the New Living Translation.

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