It is the ending of another year, and many people are feeling the weight of those holiday blues pressing in against their hearts. It is strange how the holidays seem to separate folks into two groups: those who celebrate the season and those who survive it. December is a great time for us to experience the comforting work of God, especially if this is the season wherein we sense all that is not quite as it should be.
The Lord Jesus Christ was a reassuring Man. Please do not mistake that statement to be all that could be said of Him. He is God. He is Savior. He is Lord. He is King. No single aspect of His revealed nature could encompass all that He is, so we must agree that we are never done learning or experiencing His infinite depth. Yet, as inscrutable as He is, I think I am on good ground when I say again that Jesus was a reassuring Man.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” – Luke 12:32
Luke’s Gospel alone gives us this statement which came from the lips of our King. My mind has been thinking upon these words for a while, and today I am able to share a couple of things that I have found helpful for my own journey of faith. When Jesus said these words 2,000 years ago, He packed them into a teaching commonly referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. Much of that message calls His followers to live life without anxiety or obsessiveness regarding temporary, material needs. Jesus displayed such a restful attitude about the Father’s commitment to provide our necessities that He would be regarded by many in the Church today as being flighty, irresponsible or even negligent about material needs. He taught that God knows our needs and will meet all of them. He gently corrected us for tending to worry over our material supply. He contrasted us with birds, and affirmed that we have more value to the Father than birds, but noted that the birds seem to display more ease regarding what is needed for them to live. You have never in your life seen a bird of any feather stressed, worried or toiling over tomorrow’s needs. If you think that is a silly remark then you can take it up with Jesus because it is His illustration, not mine (Luke 12:22-24) He literally teaches us to become the students of the birds when it comes to resting and trusting. He reassures us that God loves us more than any of His creation in the animal kingdom. He asks us to be as at ease as the birds are. Yes, Jesus is a reassuring Man, a calming King, and a steadying Savior.
After dealing with our bend toward anxiety, the Lord Jesus then makes a remarkable statement about God the Father. We are told in Luke 12:32 above to stop being afraid. It’s a gentle command from Christ, but a command nonetheless. The reason He can command us not to fear is because He knows the Father, and Jesus understands that Father God has given us His Kingdom. Note with me a couple of things from what Jesus said above:
We are not merely told that we are given something inside the Kingdom…but have actually been given the Kingdom itself.
We are given this promise, not because we are big and bold and impressive and deserving. We really aren’t any of those things. Instead, Jesus calls us a “little flock” which reveals a tender love from Him, a realistic understanding of our limits and an awareness that we are not big-bad wolves but, realistically, small lambs who could never have the Kingdom unless it was given to us by Another.
The most noteworthy thing I see in the statement from Jesus is that He declares that it deeply pleases the Father to give us His Kingdom. It brings pleasure to God to bless us with His best. Some of us tend to view God as a reluctant, begrudging miser who parcels out as little as possible to us. We do not easily receive the idea of His lavish love for us or His joy in blessing us with His offers. He experiences pleasure in our delighting in receiving all that He offers us. God is a giver, and Jesus ties that truth to His expectation that we stop fretting over our needs. How could we live nervously if we really believe that our Father is limitless in both his love for us and His provision to us?
Today you can begin to train yourself in exiting the realm of fear and worry. It took you many years to learn how to fret with ease, so you may not be freed from this habit overnight. We really need to learn to trust God more deeply, and it is an on-the-job training process. For some, it is no longer a conscious decision for them to worry as it has somehow, over the years, become a large part of who they are. Jesus is calling you out of that life because there is nothing there for you. Living like that denies that God is and that He is a rewarder of all who seek Him. Worry is not His will for you because you are one of His little lambs. He has given you His entire Kingdom and it is His pleasure to do so – this massive statement from Jesus warrants our efforts to find out what in the world it means. God gives us His Kingdom with great pleasure? It sounds too good to be true but it came from the mouth of the Son of God – so it is true! This is a promise and an invitation because the Kingdom is all yours if you will begin to walk in that truth and learn what it means. It is so much more than tangible, material things but I do believe that Jesus is reassuring you that you will have all that you need for practical living. The Father’s Kingdom is an immeasurable dominion, and He has made you a co-heir of it all with Christ.
So… let us cease from fretting and allow the truth of God’s goodness latch onto our minds.
You are already trained in the art of obsessing – switch your focus; begin to obsess over the reassurance of Jesus Christ as He tells you again how much the Father delights in His children.