Cartoons often demonstrate our ongoing dilemma with a devil and an angel on each shoulder. I don’t know about you, but for me, my daily decisions are rarely that black-and-white. Decisions are rarely about “good” or “bad” but usually more about the “gray” stuff of priorities, expenses, and career dilemmas.
This past weekend my pastor reminded us about the decision the wise men faced (you know, those guys who followed the bright star to baby Jesus). Should they follow the evil Herrod’s instruction and tell him where he could find the baby Jesus lying in a manger (so that he could kill him)? Or should they flat out disobey their king to protect THE KING?
The wise men weren’t called wise for nothing. They chose Jesus. Good choice, wise men, good choice.
Thankfully, our Heavenly Father made His desire crystal clear through the wise men’s dream.
Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. (Matthew 2:12)
“Divinely warned”. I just love that. Oh how I wish I could be “divinely warned” on a daily basis.
Even with being “divinely warned”, the wise men still had to decide whether they were going to follow God’s instruction, or their earthly ruler. It got me thinking – how often do we have to make that decision EVERY MOMENT during the holiday season? My earthly ruler doesn’t look much like Herrod. My earthly ruler looks like new leather boots, along with the soft cashmere scarf to match. Oh so tempting. I mean a girl’s gotta stay warm, right?!
Our culture is saturated with messages of materialism and appearances, sprinkled with a bit of dieting nonsense (especially at this time of the year). It’s easy to get sucked into culture and start obeying an earthly ruler. The “buy this” and the “go on this diet” noise is so loud during the holiday season, it’s flat out hard to hear “divine warnings”. We have to lean in to hear Jesus whispering – “celebrate me”, “sit at my feet”, “stop striving”, “find peace”.
The struggle is REAL!!
How do we tune out culture, and earthly rulers and tune in to Jesus’s station?
No earth-shattering tips found here – just the usual: pray, worship, read your Bible, love, and serve.
Of course, we can reduce exposure to commercials and advertisements, and also call out “the world’s ways” when we see it. God doesn’t usually give us vivid “divinely warned” dreams, but He gave us His Word. Once again, we’re looking to Romans 12:2 for His guidance:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Make this verse a mirror sticky-note verse this holiday season, and join me in following the lead of the wise men, who followed the lead of the Wise One.
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Dawn is an Associate Professor of Nutrition and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She is a wife and a mother to an amazing 11-year old boy. Dawn enjoys finding creative ways to spread the word that God’s unconditional love can bring healing to every broken relationship, including one with food.