John’s testimony was plain, simple, and direct. He wasn’t the Light, but he lived his life as a pointer to the Light. Praise God today for His light. Pray that your life would emanate light.
John 1:6-8 Common English Bible (CEB)
6 A man named John was sent from God. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him everyone would believe in the light. 8 He himself wasn’t the light, but his mission was to testify concerning the light.
- When you consider your deepest longing you identified these last two weeks, if this longing is fulfilled, how will it bring God’s Kingdom?
- What are the things you do that block or deny this longing from being fulfilled?
We’ll keep these two questions in mind as we journey through this third week. Return to them often and listen for God’s voice.
1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 Common English Bible (CEB)
19 Don’t suppress the Spirit. 20 Don’t brush off Spirit-inspired messages, 21 but examine everything carefully and hang on to what is good.
Reviewing our week
Sunday we prepared our hearts by saturating ourselves in the scriptures for the week ahead. Monday we focused on seeing Jesus as He is and Tuesday we noticed who He comes for. Wednesday we were surprised by the idea that God notices us. God’s justice was our theme for Thursday and yesterday we learned together how we bring God’s Kingdom by standing in solidarity with the marginalized, judged and persecuted. We stand with the refugees because we are refugees – and because Jesus is a refugee.
Love is the doorway to our deepest longings
Throughout this Advent season, we’ve been exploring what our deepest longings are. We’ve been asking what are we most hoping He will bring with Him when He comes.
Uncovering our longings requires fierce honesty from us. It requires the kind of piercing honesty that Jesus found lacking in the rich young ruler. (Matthew 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30)
During the first week of Advent, I asked, “What are you most longing for during this season of Advent?”
We might imagine Jesus asking the rich young ruler this question with his response being:
I long to inherit eternal life.
As we moved into the second week of Advent, I encouraged you to bring before God your deepest desire that was surfacing and ask yourself, “What are you most hoping for when He comes? Why do you desire this? What does God think about it?”
We return to the rich young ruler:
I’m hoping for eternal life. I’m hoping you’ll tell me what I have to do to earn it because I want to participate in the divine. What does God think about it? I don’t know. He wants me to be good in order to save myself, I guess.
In this passage, we immediately see Jesus responding to all of the things the rich young ruler said he was doing by upping the ante to a soul-revealing place.
Jesus basically said – and notice how He relates to this man in the same style of language, in terms he could understand! Jesus always does this. He always meets us where we are:
Fine then. Go and sell all that you own. That’s the one step you’ve forgotten.
Now in our third week of wrestling with our longings, I asked, “When you consider your deepest longing you identified these last two weeks, if this longing is fulfilled, how will it brings God’s Kingdom? And, what are the things you do that block or deny this longing from being fulfilled?”
It’s so hard to be honest with ourselves of what we most deeply desire. The rich young ruler’s answer to this question of how his desire for eternal life would bring the Kingdom of God would have to reveal misplaced desires. He wanted to partake in the divine life while preserving his own life. This is why Jesus immediately moved the conversation to “who can be saved?”
The root desire here was for this ruler to have union with the divine without surrender. There was a good and true desire underneath this expressed desire, that of union, but the competing desire to own a life that stood apart was blocking the rich young ruler from seeing it.
Often, the desires we are most in touch with only cover up what we don’t want to give up in order to know our deepest desires we are often out of touch with.
- Revisit the ‘Our Longings’ section and ask God to help you see how you might answer those questions with honesty and vulnerability.
Pray that God would give you the gift of clear vision of what you most desire.
A Closing Prayer
Like the rich young ruler, I sometimes think I desire something – and often it’s some good thing I know would please you to provide – but this thing I desire is often covering up something I don’t want to give up.
I desire patience, sometimes, because it conceals my arrogance. When I think others are wrong, it’s easier for me to pray for patience than the humility to admit they might be right.
I pray for your good gift of generosity, because it’s secretly seducing for me to think of myself as higher up than those I’m giving to.
Lord, this Advent season, help me to live my truest desires.
- This evening, continue again to worship through Psalm 80:3 as a personal prayer. Return to this often over this Advent season.
- Tomorrow morning, consider reading through this week’s scriptures in preparation for Christmas.
Scriptures from Our Advent Series
Texts for First Advent Week: Isaiah 64:1-9; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37; Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18
Texts for Second Advent Week: Isaiah 40:1-11; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; Mark 1:1-8
Texts for Third Advent Week: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126; Luke 1:46b-55; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28