by Mary Southerland
Every year, I make a Christmas list comprised of every person for whom I am buying a gift. Beside each name, I put a dollar amount, a limit of how much money I will spend for that gift, vowing not to spend one penny more than the set limit. (Somehow, the amount I actually spend rarely coincides with the amount I intended to spend. Can you relate?) With every purchase, I then draw a beautiful red line through that name. Done!
I carry that list everywhere I go because sometimes I find a gift during a random shopping trip but mainly because I can’t afford to let it out of my sight. There are evil people lurking in my home who will go to any lengths to find that list. You see, I am the Queen of Surprise when it comes to Christmas, so I must guard my list with my life in order to keep my “Queen-ship” status secure. Consequently, the list is hidden in various and unusual places such as a random file on my computer, in my closet, in an old purse, in a sock drawer, in a flower pot – you get the picture. I know where that Christmas list is at all times because it is my gift-giving plan for the holidays.
I wish I were just as concerned about “God’s list” for my life; carrying His life plan for me in my heart and mind as I live each day, constantly making choices and decisions in light of that list, guarding it like the treasure map of eternity that it truly is. Just knowing the plan God has for me does not guarantee success. I must do the plan. That is where the choice to obey comes in. An obedient heart is a “fixed” heart and may very well be the gift God wants from us this holiday season.
“O God, my heart is fixed!”
“I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea thy law is within my heart.”
A “fixed” heart is a determined heart, a steadfast heart that is rightly focused on God and His will, His plan. When we choose to follow God’s plan, the desires of our heart will line up in obedience to that plan. We will find our greatest joy in pleasing God, in doing His will because that is what we were created to do.
Maybe today is a good time to stop, go back over the list, review those life lessons we have learned, checking to see where we really are in our walk with God. Maybe today is the perfect time to revisit the manger to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by giving Him the gift of obedience.