Those who worship the god of success don’t turn their back on God right away. It happens slowly, pieces of a time. Less time in prayer. Less time being still and listening to God’s heart speak to their heart.
Many of you are familiar with the character of Ebeneezer Scrooge. He is the miserly businessman, who is the central character of A Christmas Carol written by Charles Dickens. Dickens describes Scrooge as “…a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!”
Scrooge was embittered by life. His father’s failure to love him caused him to have little concern for the welfare of others. His sister, Fran, died giving birth to his nephew. Scrooge blamed his nephew for Fran’s death. His fiancee ,Belle, wanted to know if he would have asked her to marry him now if they were not already engaged. Scrooge could not respond that he would have because the golden idol of money had replaced her in his heart.
Scrooge is visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present and future They challenge him to love people rather than things. They teach him the reason Jesus was born. He sees the difference that reason makes in a person’s life.
As we have now closed this old year and welcomed in the new, let us ask ourselves this question. Is there any of Scrooge in us? Perhaps, there is bitterness within your heart towards someone you know quite well. This anger and rage seething within you kills your spirit like cancer kills your body. It also robs you of the joy Christ wants to give you. Life may have been cruel to you. You put up emotional walls around yourself so you will not be hurt. You are the sad victim of abuse, which has been eating away at you, stealing your joy, slowly sinking you into a raging sea of despair and inner unrelenting torment.
You become miserly in showing Christ’s love to others. It just hurts too much to put your emotional barriers down and let in anyone including God. It’s too dangerous. It’s too risky. You’ll just be hurt again. You can’t endure another wound.
If we are to truly to be shining lights of hope to the hopeless, we need to trust that God can heal our innermost wounds. The Lord has been calling me to do that as I am transitioning from wounded to victorious healer. For many years I was abused by my manic depressant schizophrenic father. Those haunting words of my father that Christ is healing play over and over again in my mind. “You’re no good. You’re a piece of garbage. You’re stupid. You’re a mama’s boy.Your brother is smarter than you’ll ever be. You are a clumsy fool. I wish you had never been born.”These are the hurtful, cutting and destructive words so many abused people hear and sadly come to believe.
God loves all of the abused and all of you. He has a plan for you. Will you take His hand today and trust Him? Will you in an act of child-like trust say, “Lord, I don’t want to live in this pit of despair any longer. Take me out of the valley of my hell. Oh, God, take me out of this dark place in my soul to embrace Your light, Your purpose, Your direction for my life.”
We need to reach out to Him in faith. We need to trust Him as Paul and Scrooge did. We need to allow God to shine His light through us, so that we can endure and be victorious in the daily struggles of life.
In 2 Corinthians 3:2-3, Paul writes:
“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, read and known by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts”(NIV).
Paul was teaching fellow Christians that they were the only gospel many would ever read. In their speech and character those who did not believe in God would see Christ living within their hearts. Notice that in 2 Corinthians 3:2 Paul writes that this letter of life in Christ would be read and known by everybody. In the next verse, Paul says that the Christians he was teaching needed to show that they are Christ’s own. How were they to do that? Later in the verse, we are given the answer. The Spirit of the living God was to be written upon their hearts.
What letter are people reading in us? Are we as Christians shining Christ’s light? If Christians are the only gospel many will ever read, do our lives shine light or darkness?
God wants to change the darkness within you into light. He wants to give you hope. He wants to give you a peace unlike you have ever known before. Will you dare to let God in? Will His love live within your heart? Will you be a living letter of life? It is my prayer that God will show you the answers in your heart as you ask yourself these questions.
In this new year let us remember that if Christ could redeem a covetous old sinner like Ebeneezer Scrooge, then how much more can He love all of us?