But I wanted to say something about what I see so often during the holidays...conflict. Arguments and controversies over how...and even if we should be celebrating Christmas.
The following text in 1 Timothy 6: 3-21 reminded me of these things as I was reading it today. Reminding me what the important things are, vs what just causes arguments. ~ Especially after what we had just talked about in the last couple of posts, how nothing we do or don't do so as to earn a right standing with God will earn us a right standing with God.
Then, as we read through this text it speaks about gain...how (by arguing or causing conflict) and then why (by thinking only of self/gain) we attain it...then how it all comes down to contentment and realizing that God already gives us all the things we need ~ and all things to enjoy! So, why argue? People who like to argue are most likely into doing it because of self-interest.
So, if we truly are saved...completely saved...by the work Jesus did ~ and not by our abilities to have all the correct doctrinal beliefs yet (as this happens through time and growth) and not by not celebrating Christmas and not by not having a tree and not by...well, not by anything we do or don't do >> then why not enjoy the things God has given us to enjoy?
God tells us in Romans 1:18-23 that it is already in our hearts to learn about who He is through his creation...although some have chosen to dismiss this and worship the creation instead of the Creator. We can see how great God is, what kind of nature He has, and what kind of life He wants for us through what He has created.
...as in the Christmas tree. Of course through the centuries people have used the evergreen tree in various ways and as a symbol of many different things...as God tells us in the Roman's verses...but we are to see it the way that it was intended, for God's glory. Evergreen for me, for instance, and to various Christian traditions means and stands for life everlasting. God and then life with God, means living forever. Through the harshness of winter when some barely see the sun, to the delights of summer when the sun is ever shining...nothing stops the evergreen from living ~ from being ever-green. As nothing stops God and His people from living forever...because God is 'ever-green/always alive'.
Everything was created for His glory and are gifts to us to appreciate and enjoy...and no matter how rich we get, money will always be a poor substitute for what God has already given us. I hope and pray we keep this going with how we live our lives...and are witnesses of His life and His truths that we see in Jesus, in scripture and are all around us every day in His creation.
false doctrine and doesn't agree with the accurate words of our Lord Jesus
Christ and godly teachings 4is a conceited
person. He shows that he doesn't understand anything. Rather, he has an
unhealthy desire to argue and quarrel about words. This produces jealousy,
rivalry, cursing, suspicion, 5 and conflict between
people whose corrupt minds have been robbed of the truth. They think that a
godly life is a way to make a profit.
6A godly life brings
huge profits to people who are content with what they have.7We
didn't bring anything into the world, and we can't take anything out of it. 8As long as we have
food and clothes, we should be satisfied.9But people who want
to get rich keep falling into temptation. They are trapped by many stupid and
harmful desires which drown them in destruction and ruin. 10Certainly, the
love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people who have set their
hearts on getting rich have wandered away from the Christian faith and have
caused themselves a lot of grief.
11But you, man of
God, must avoid these things. Pursue what God approves of: a godly life, faith,
love, endurance, and gentleness. 12Fight the good
fight for the Christian faith. Take hold of everlasting life to which you were
called and about which you made a good testimony in front of many witnesses.
13In the sight of
God, who gives life to everything, and in the sight of Christ Jesus, who gave a
good testimony in front of Pontius Pilate, 14I insist that,
until our Lord Jesus Christ appears, you obey this command completely.
cannot be blamed for doing anything wrong. 15At the right time
God will make this known. God is the blessed and only ruler. He is the King of
kings and Lord of lords. 16He is the only one
who cannot die. He lives in light that no one can come near. No one has seen
him, nor can they see him. Honor and power belong to him forever! Amen.
17Tell those who
have the riches of this world not to be arrogant and not to place their
confidence in anything as uncertain as riches. Instead, they should place their
confidence in God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.18Tell them to do
good, to do a lot of good things, to be generous, and to share. 19By doing this they
store up a treasure for themselves which is a good foundation for the future. In
this way they take hold of what life really is.
20Timothy, guard the
Good News which has been entrusted to you. Turn away from pointless discussions
and the claims of false knowledge that people use to oppose [the Christian
claim to have knowledge, they have abandoned the faith. God's good will be with
all of you.