Journal Entry ~ 12/20/19

"Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us).  - Matthew 1:23

God knew we would need Him with us because He understood the nature of this broken world we live in. He knew the evil that exists in the world isn’t just on the outside, it exists within us as well. While it’s easy to point at the fallen world as the source of all of our trials, the truth is the wickedness that exists in the world around us is made greater by the wickedness that lives within us. We are tempted by sin because we are sinners by nature. There is an evil that exists outside us and there is an evil that exists inside of us - it is the intersection of the two that causes us to sin. We like to tell ourselves that we are inherently good, especially after we serve or do something kind - we have such a tendency to compare ourselves to others and come out on top. We are not good...but Good does exist within us.

God’s ultimate plan is to purify our hearts. He wants to rid us of the wickedness that lives within us, and He knew the only way to do this was to send His Son to die on the cross to cover our sin, and to enter our hearts to begin the process of purifying us. His desire is to root out the evil that exists in the heart of every believer.  By God’s grace, if you are a believer in Christ, you are not who you once were - He has eradicated some of the evil that existed in your heart. But it is a long process to reveal and remove the wickedness that exists in our hearts as we live in a broken world; it doesn’t happen in a moment. And since the daily intersection between the outside evil and the inside evil is undeniable, this process of purifying our hearts can be quite painful at times.

While dwelling on the evil that exists in the world and within our hearts can be despairing in and of itself, we find Hope in Matthew. He is with us. We don’t have to navigate this path on our own, we don’t have to face the challenges and the pain of that intersection of evil by ourselves. He tells us here at the beginning of Matthew that He sent His Son so that He can be with us to face the evil, and then He reminds us at the end of Matthew again: 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." - Matthew 28:18-20. He is with us always.

God didn’t just write a book with a set of rules for how to navigate this broken world, and then leave us on His own. He chose to come with us on the journey of life. He already knew about the intersection between evil that exists outside and inside, and He knew we wouldn’t be able to make it on our own. The beautiful part of Him living within us is that it doesn’t mean He shows up when we’re in trouble, He’s here with us the whole time. He’s walking into the trials with us, as part of us. He already knew we wouldn’t make it on our own, so His beautiful plan for us all along included Him coming to earth as a baby, dying for our sins, and coming to live within us so that He would ultimately win the battle that exists against evil.

I have to grab ahold of the power of Jesus living inside of me often. The evil of the world speaks louder to me at times, and the evil that lives inside of me connects with it. But as the temptations and the fears well up inside me, I need to remind myself He goes with me. He lives within me. I have nothing to fear.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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