Tuesday, First Week in Advent

by Matthew B. Harper

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these things, though you know them and are established in the truth you have. (2 Peter 1:12)

It isn’t often that we stop and think about the deep foundational issues and truths that define our lives. When we do take the time to think about or talk about these issues, we always want to cling to very high and noble ideas. But the truths that are actually established in our lives are the ones that are made manifest every day. It can be disappointing if we see that what we claim and profess to believe, we do not live.

In prison it is a common mantra to hear men say that they will begin to live a more upright life in their last year in prison; or that they will go to church ‘when they get out.’ I always tell them that the truth is that if you aren’t doing it, then you aren’t going to do it. What these men don’t grasp is that if they cannot live a righteous life now, then they will not be able to live one when they get out. Tomorrow starts now, and as you prepare so shall you live.

Prison is a time of preparation, so what are you preparing for? Advent is the time of preparation, what are you preparing for? If you live in and focus on the pain and depressions of prison, then that is what you will be established in. If you live only for the toys and presents of Christmas, then that is what you will be established in. But if you live in the joy that the Lord brings, if you actually live it, then it will be established in you. The deepest roots of our faith are sown when we can find the strength and joy of the Lord in hardship and pain. God is there. Tomorrow starts now. God is here.

As you prepare, so shall you live.

Come thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free:

from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee. (Hymn 66)

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