From Leader to Leader – A Violent Christmas

by César De León Ph.D LMFT, Ministerial Director for the North Pacific Union Conference

“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8

While most companies await December to see their product sales skyrocket, we mission-focused, disciple-making Adventists understand that Christmas is a season of the year when some more irreligious or secular folk are often a bit more open to the Good News Gospel embedded in the incarnation of the Son of God. 

Last night, during a conversation with our very likeable heating company employee, I tried to play off my surprise as he told me his perspective on how to solve the worrisome condition of our world and culture. It was late, and he had mentioned this was his last call in a non-stop day of house calls, so I offered him a bowl of delicious tortilla soup my wife had just made. As he ate, this 30-something millennial, unabashedly shared that even though he wasn’t a particularly violent man, he and some other like-minded people had determined that they were not going to cross their arms and watch their planet self-destroy just because politicians were too narcissistic to think about anything other than protecting their own personal interests.  When we asked him what that might look like, he openly admitted he didn’t see anything wrong with using violence against any political leaders that were blocking global efforts to sacrifice personal gain in order to “save our planet,” so that our children and grandchildren could aspire to enjoy sustainable lives. We could not believe how calmly and confidently this talented young man had shared his perspective on how to deal with the evils of our day.

The apostle John eloquently described the fundamental purpose for the Son’s incarnation on that clear starry night: “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”  1 John 3:8. This may sound a bit dramatic at first glance, but I invite you to invest a few thoughtful minutes meditating on the context and implications of this short verse; after all, context is highly relevant.

Here is some context:

“In heaven’s council the hour for the coming of Christ had been determined.  When the great clock of time pointed to that hour, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. . .Providence had directed the movements of nations, and the tide of human impulse and influence, until the world was ripe for the coming of the Deliverer.  The deception of sin had reached its height.  All the agencies for depraving the souls of men had been put in operation.  The Son of God, looking upon the world, beheld the suffering and misery.  With pity He saw how men had become victims of satanic cruelty.  He looked with compassion upon those who were being corrupted, murdered, and lost. . .”   (Desire of Ages, 32-38)

So, Jesus was the epicenter of the heavenly invasion that landed on earth wearing the skin of humanity with a focused mission to destroy all the sin (self)-driven, destructive patterns of thinking, feeling, speaking, relating, behaving and being. . . that were exchanged for the spiritual, emotional, physical and relational love, peace, harmony and contentment experienced by our Edenic parents, before their fall.

It’s hard to imagine that about two thousand years had gone by since the incarnation in Bethlehem.  The deception of sin seems to continue evolving into deeper depravity with each passing generation. Yet, it seems that if ever the time is ripe to share the Good News of Emmanuel—God with us—its today.

“By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan’s purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.” John 3:16. He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder.” God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven. It is the “Son of man” who shares the throne of the universe. It is the “Son of man” whose name shall be called, “Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6. The I AM is the Daysman between God and humanity, laying His hand upon both. He who is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 7:26; 2:11. In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together. Christ glorified is our brother. Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love.  {DA 25.3}

I invite you to prayerfully consider the following questions for personal reflection:

  1. In what tangible ways Can I add my efforts to join Jesus in destroying the “works of the devil”?
  2. Can I identify the works of the devil in my own life?  What I can do to stop the enemy’s efforts to destroy my life and those around me?
  3. How different would my influence in my home, family, job and community be if I chose to exchange my learned and inherited patterns of thinking, feeling, speaking, relating and being for those renewed by the Spirit?
  4. Am I willing to surrender Emmanuel’s Spirit? Am I willing to give Him ALL of me?

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