Revealing Hearts
by Chris Phillips
December 24, 2020

“Head knowledge without heart knowledge is worse than useless; but when the head and the heart join forces, it changes our lives forever.” – David Jeremiah

During the Christmas season, Jesus Christ is mentioned in songs and displayed abundantly across social media and holiday decorations. Churches are going to great lengths to get the message and meaning of Jesus’ birth to a hurting world. I am convinced that many hearts will be open this year to receive the true meaning of Christmas.

However, the war for the souls of men is stronger than ever.

When Joseph and Mary traveled the short distance from Bethlehem to Jerusalem when Jesus was thirty-three days old, they took Him to the temple to present their firstborn to God and to bring an offering for Mary’s ceremonial purification after childbirth. While at the temple, they met Simeon. Simeon was special because the Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die until he had been able to see the Messiah. When he saw the Child, he rejoiced and made an insightful prophecy:

“…Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel…that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34–35)

Simeon knew that Jesus would cause the “falling and rising of many in Israel.” Many that followed Jesus for selfish gain or turned away when it required sacrificial commitment and repentance of sin would “fall.” This reveals head knowledge. In contrast, many others would “rise” because they would believe that Jesus was Who He claimed to be … the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life; they would follow Him no matter the cost. (John 14:6) This is heart knowledge.

Our attitude toward Jesus Christ reveals the thoughts of our hearts.

It is crystal clear that our eternal destiny depends on our coming to Christ with a repentant heart and trusting Jesus’ sacrificial, atoning death on the cross to cleanse us from our sin.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

What is not so clear, is how our attitude toward Jesus Christ as we follow Him continues to reveal the thoughts of our hearts. Is it not easy to substitute head knowledge for heart knowledge as we learn more facts ABOUT the Bible? Is it not easy to become prideful for how much we know ABOUT God and Jesus Christ?

There have been many times throughout the years that I have found myself empty and unfulfilled after the Christmas season. The time with family, feasting, gift-giving and church Christmas programs, as precious and exciting as they are, did not fill my heart with lasting joy. I allowed the head knowledge of preparing for the season to take priority over the heart knowledge of personal engagement with my Savior.

The tone for the next year begins with how we experience Christmas.

Our hearts must be engaged and focused on Christ Himself. As believers, it is essential that we carefully approach the Christmas season in general and the Word of God in particular with a heart that is centered on worshipping Christ.

 

How do we do this?

  1. Spend extra time with God during this season.
    • Worship involves personal devotion. We spend extra time shopping. We spend extra money on gifts. Why not carve out special time to be alone with God? (See Psalm 63)
  2. Give the gift of Forgiveness.
    • We cannot truly worship Jesus Christ and maintain a heart of unforgiveness and bitterness. This is one of the most sincere acts of true worship. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
  3. Sing Christmas songs that highlight the Gospel.
    • Research and print out the lyrics to meaning Christmas songs and then discuss them as a family. Many are rich with the message of the Gospel. (i.e. Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, Angels From the Realms of Glory, etc.) (Colossians 3:16)
  4. Remember those that are hurting or alone.
    • We are all surrounded by multitudes that have experienced unusual pain and suffering this year. Ask the Lord to direct you to those He wants you to encourage. It will not be difficult to find several that to which you can minister. Take advantage of virtual video calling. (James 1:27)

We need more than just a head knowledge of the Christmas story. We need more than just an intellectual assent to the reality of God becoming man. We need more than just an emotional experience.

Please do participate in the Christmas gatherings at your local church. Please do enjoy the fellowship of friends and family. Please do participate in gift-giving. But please do not neglect your heart this Christmas season.

If we will end this year in true worship of Jesus Christ, we will be able to face next year with a heart full of hope.

How do you plan to worship this Christmas?

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him…” (Matthew 2:11)

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