How we you prepare room in your heart for King Jesus? Christmas is a wonderful time to think about our lives and how Jesus can reign in your heart now and throughout the coming year.
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HOW TO PREPARE MY HEART FOR THE KING
The Christmas story
Shepherd > all people
Magi > every nation, tribe, and tongue
Herod > strife and suffering
This morning I want to focus on a teenage girl, living in the little
Galilean village of Nazareth. Think about this for minute. God is
sending his eternal son into the world to become a human being and
announce God’s plan for restoring the entire creation. He doesn’t
start in Rome, or any the capitols of the great Eastern civilization, he
doesn’t even go to Jerusalem, but he chooses Nazareth. There were
few places in the world of less significance than the village of
Not only does God start in Nazareth but he begins preparing his
entrance into humanity with one of the most insignificant places, but
he begins by sending a heavenly messenger to one of the most
insignificant people in the insignificant village. The ancient world,
even Israel, was extremely misogynistic. Women were valued only
slightly more than livestock. There were only two things that gave
woman any significant status at all in the culture, marriage and
children. Mary was engaged but not married and had no children.
God to Samuel “People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD
looks on the heart.”
Contrast between Mary and Zechariah
The condition of our heart has nothing to do with age, education,
position, it is defined by our willingness to submit to the King.
“Let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room.”
Last week Darby talked about Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha.
She sets an example of someone who was making room in heart for
Jesus. She chooses to sit at the feet of Jesus. Then later her love for
Jesus leads her to sacrifice perfume worth a year’s wages and wipe
his feet with her hair.
This message it isn’t really about the mother of Jesus it is about us,
you and me and the condition of our heart. How should we being
preparing our heart for Jesus to live in this next year?
Mary has a heart of submission to God.
Luke 1:26–38 (NLT) — 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy,
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a
virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named
Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and
said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” 29 Confused
and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor
with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will
name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of
the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor
David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never
end!” 34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a
virgin.” 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and
the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be
born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s
more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age!
People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and
is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.” 38
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have
said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
This is an incredible announcement, but Mary doesn’t hesitate “I am the
To submit to someone, we must let go of our desires, plans, hopes, to
embrace their desires, plans, and hopes.
Mark 8:34 (NLT) — 34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he
said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your
own way, take up your cross, and follow me.
Matthew 6:33 (NLT) — 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,
and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Matthew 6:33 (The Message) — 33 Steep your life in God-reality, Godinitiative,
God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find
all your everyday human concerns will be met.
This is what Mary at her very young age was already doing that is the
only way she would have said yes to God about this mission that had
such potentially significant consequences. In the Law of Moses, an
unmarried woman, who was pregnant was to be stone to death. That
was seldom the case in Mary’s day but that did not mean the
consequences were not severe. She would almost certainly have
never married, it would also affect the marriage prospects of any
unmarried siblings. If he had chosen to do so Joseph could have
extracted significant financial penalties from Mary’s father. If Mary’s
father had expelled her from his home, common response in the
situation, Mary would have only two options, begging or prostitution.
Mary was surrendering her entire future when she said yes, to God. I
suspect that to some degree Mary had already offered her, desires,
hopes, and dreams to God, or she could not have respond to the
angel so calmly.
Mary disturbs me because I want to be like this. I want my life to be
so steeped in God-reality, God-initiative, God provision, that I would
immediately say yes to God, no mater what. I’m working on it, I’m
making progress but Mary was their as a teenager.
One of the things that helps us get there is practicing, surrendering to
God, letting go, moving things out or our heart, our affections, to
make more room for Jesus.
This is not about sacrifice. Sacrifice is about deprivation and denial.
Surrender is about receiving.
Surrender is not sacrifice.
It was Halloween, my daughter Christy was about 5 and her best
friend was a girl whose family were recent immigrants. We were
planning to take our kids trick-or-treating around are apartment
complex. Christy’s friend’s family had asked to join us. Christy’s
friend had a little brother who was about two. He was riding on his
Dad’s shoulders. We got to the first door and all the kids got candy.
The little brother was thrilled and held his candy in his hand and
refused to put it in the bag. We arrived at the next door, candy was
deposited in each child’s bag, but little brother wanted his candy in
his other hand. We arrived at the third door. When little brother was
offered a piece of candy, he looked at one hand and then the other
hand and Screamed like someone was cutting off his arm. His
parents again pleaded with him to put his candy in the bag, but he
kept gripping it and screaming. After the fifth door Dad took him
home. How sad. This little guy had a large apartment complex full of
people who wanted to give him candy but he did not get any of it
because he would not let go of what he had.
Philippians 3:5–9 (NLT) — 5 I was circumcised when I was eight days
old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of
Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the
Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. 6 I
was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for
righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. 7 I once thought these
things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of
what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when
compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as
garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him. I no
longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law;
rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of
making us right with himself depends on faith.
Paul surrendered his pride, his reputation, his position, to know
Christ. Paul did not have an easy life after he began following Christ,
yet he never regretted letting go of what he had, to receive what
Christ wanted to give him. This idea of preparing room in our hearts
for Jesus is something that we never finish doing. Jesus wants to
continue expanding his presence in our hearts so there is nothing left
but him. So, no matter how long we have been following Jesus, we
are still needing to surrender things, let go of them, to make more
room for Jesus.
What are you holding on to that you need to let go of so that there will
be more room for Jesus in your heart. Our first thought might be that
we need to realize a possession, or some pleasure we enjoy and that
is possible but those aren’t they kind of things that most fill our
hearts. Paul had to release his pride, his position, his ambitions. We
might need to release bitterness, or fear.
We are never done preparing room in our heart because Jesus wants
to expand his space in out hearts.
Submission requires trust. When Marry said, “I am the Lord’s
servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” She was
putting herself in a situation where she had to trust God to control the
circumstances. She was going to be obviously pregnant in a few
months. She had no control over how her father would respond to
the situation? She had no control how Joseph would respond to the
situation? She did not no where she would live or how she would
provide for her self and the child. When she surrendered her hopes,
and dreams she was trusting in the goodness and faithfulness of
God. Even as a woman she would have been steeped in the OT. She
would have known of all the times that God had miraculously meet
the needs of those who trusted him.
Do you see how letting go of what we want and trusting God work
together? The problem the little trick-or-treater on his Dad’s
shoulders had was really a problem with trust. Trust, that if he let go
of the candy he would get more later.
Most Christians do not trust God.
We believe the Bible is true, we believe that Jesus rose from the dead,
we are pretty sure that our sins have been forgiven, we are pretty sure
that we will spend eternity with God. Yet, we do not really believe that
God is able to work powerfully, in and through are lives, right now.
We do not really believe that God is able to meet our needs. Because
we do not really trust God, we only want to give him a little space in
Ephesians 1:18–23 (NLT) — 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded
with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given
to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious
inheritance. 19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible
greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same
mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in
the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now
he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything
else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has
put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head
over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his
body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things
everywhere with himself.
Notice that Paul does not ask God to give these believers power, he
asks for them to understand the power that they have already been
given. Christian often ask God to give us power but when Christ rose
from the dead, and took his place of authority we were given more
power than we can imagine.
Paul gets side track and doesn’t finish telling them about his prayer
until chapter 3.
Ephesians 3:14–20 (NLT) — 14 When I think of all this, I fall to my
knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven
and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he
will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then
Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your
roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And
may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should,
how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you
experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand
fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and
power that comes from God. 20 Now all glory to God, who is able,
through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely
more than we might ask or think.
Do you see how the two halves of Paul’s prayer connect? Paul wants
them to experience God’s power in their lives, but they will never
experience his power unless they trust him, so he prays that they will
understand the depth of God’s love.
Do you want to prepare more room in your heart for Jesus this year?
Then you need to ask God what you need to release, and you need to
ask what he wants to do in your life this year.
Questions for reflection:
1) How are you making room in your heart for Jesus?
2) What is one thing you want to let go of this year, so you can have
more of Jesus?
3) What is one thing that you want to trust God to do in your life this