On 1 January 2006, we were invited to come to the morning service at Highgrove with something to share. The invitation said, "The service will be more informal than usual with an opportunity to bring reflections of Christmas and thoughts for 2006."
I sometimes find that God speaks to me through the words of a
traditional hymn or a modern song. This Christmas, it was through
the familiar words of a carol:
"For He is our childhood's pattern:
Day by day like us He grew"
Jesus is our pattern, not just in childhood, but through all our lives. In Luke 2:40, we read that Jesus "continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom". Like Him, we too must grow.
Jesus came with a mission: to destroy the works of the enemy, and to build the Kingdom of God. But He came as a baby: weak, helpless and unable to do anything. At the start of His life, He had a mission but no ministry.
But He grew.
Consequently, in the last three years of His life, Jesus had both a mission and a ministry. People encountered God through Him. He changed the lives of the people He met. He set prisoners free, in all kinds of ways. He was powerful and effective in His ministry because He had grown - He had learned how to serve His Father, how to use the gifts He had been given.
The same is true for us.
When we are born again, God comes to live within us. Just as God was present in the baby at Bethlehem, God is actually present and living within us. We, too, need to grow, so that the life of God can be fully expressed in our lives, so that people can meet God through you and me.
It is easy to say to God that we are weak, that we need all kinds of things from Him. But, perhaps, He is saying to us that He has already given us all we need. He has given us the Holy Spirit. He has given us "everything pertaining to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3); He has "blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3). We already have all we need - we simply need to learn how to be effective, how to use the gifts we have been given and to express the presence of the God Who lives within us.