“We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:7-9
During the holidays, so many go anywhere, do anything, and give up everything in order to find their way home to their families. There’s no better opportunity to preach the Word and impact our families than by focusing on how we conduct ourselves while we’re in their presence. This endeavor requires a deeper goal: the goal to be home with God during the holidays. You must determine to be closer to God than ever before because the way you conduct yourself will either make them critical of God and the church or it will inspire them to want to know more about what has changed you so much.
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 says, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Perhaps this will be your first opportunity to be with family and friends as a disciple on the holidays. Maybe this is a 3rd or 4th time. Others of you have been in the church several years and have had numerous occasions to be with your relatives during the holiday seasons. Regardless of your “holiday” experience as a disciple there are some crucial questions to ask yourself before heading home this year:
How do I express love to my family so they feel it?
How do I leave a positive and lasting impression upon my family?
How do I stay close to God amid all the distractions of the holiday season?
What should I do about relating to my old friends who may not understand the commitment I’ve made?
How can I stand up for what I believe and help those I love see God’s Kingdom without being over-bearing or coming across as self-righteous?
Will it be tough to resist the temptations of my old life?
God’s Word provides us with the wisdom we need to answer all of these questions. Here are some great practicals for bringing “salvation” during your “vacation.”
“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
The holidays need to be a visual aid for family and friends to see how God has convicted us of selfishness and that our purpose in life now is to help others. Here are some simple servant suggestions that can help to make an impact:
- Wash the dishes
- Take out the garbage
- Help fix dinner
Offer to pick up relatives, help wrap presents, volunteer for last-minute grocery runs, be the first to say “thank you,” keep your room clean, and do anything else you suspect Jesus might do if he were you. These are not things that we do to impress, but things we do because they are Godly and right.
Be Spiritual and Stay Alert:
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But, when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
According to the scriptures, the devil constantly looks for an opportunity to catch you off guard and weaken you to the point of losing your convictions. Just like lions get their prey all alone, this is one time of year when Satan has disciples spread around, all by themselves. While you’re at home for the holidays, Satan and temptation will also be guests in your home. But, remember that nothing will happen during your time away that will be impossible for you to overcome. If you have great times with the Lord and you take the time to stay connected to your spiritual family, you will have more strength than you ever knew you had. Nobody will make you so angry that you must retaliate. No former sin will be too pleasurable to pass up. God will give you the strength to say “no” to everything Satan throws at you. The biggest mistake disciples make is not taking the time to stay connected to the vine (John 15) and believing they can be “away from the pack” without being devoured by the predator. Stay spiritual and stay alert and you will find victory over Satan.
Be Wise and on Your Guard:
“Do not be deceived. Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Many of us will need to make decisions to not allow ourselves to wind up in “certain places” at “certain times” or with “certain individuals” who, though not necessarily intentionally, may lead us astray. These decisions are often difficult because of how it makes us feel to not join in with them or how we will be viewed if we don’t go along with the plan. Guard your heart and don’t take any chances where your sinful nature could take over.
Speak up and Share:
“Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Mark 5:18
“And pray for us too, that God may open a door for our message so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ.” Colossians 4:2
Our family and friends love us, even though they often are not tremendously interested in learning about our new-found beliefs. They usually welcome any positive contributions which our involvement in the church has made in areas like our schoolwork, job, finances, relationships, children and marriage. Maintain deep convictions about Biblical truths while focusing primarily on the great ways God has changed your life. Most people would rather see a sermon than hear one. Serve, Be Spiritual and Stay Alert, Be Wise and on Your Guard, then Speak Up and Share. God will give you the words to say. So, take advantage of the opportunities that God WILL give you to “open your mouth” and proclaim your God while you’re home for the holidays!