Take the test this Christmas… the results may surprise you!
The popular Santa jingle teaches our kids, "He's making a list and checking it twice, he's going to find out who's naughty or nice. Santa Claus is coming to town!"
Presents or coal...
It is an old Western tradition that says good kids will get presents from Santa and naughty kids will receive a lump of coal – although I have never heard of any kid who received coal for Christmas!
When you think about it, how could Santa even make a list like that? What set of standards would he follow and how good do you have to be to get put on his 'nice' list? I might be better behaved than the kid next door but who could ever compete with Miss Mary goody-two-shoes from down the block?
There is one set of 'good' standards I know I definitely cannot live up to, God's Ten Commandments which are written in the Bible book of Exodus chapter 20. How many of these Commandments do you know of? After all, that is the list which God uses to determine whether we will go to be with Him in heaven or be separated from Him in hell forever.
If that was the standard both God and Santa were to use to determine whether we are naughty or nice, how do you think you would go?
Here's the test...
Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever looked at someone lustfully (Jesus said that lust was adultery of the heart)? Have you ever used God's name as a curse word, also known as blasphemy? Have you ever disobeyed your parents, breaking the fourth commandment? Have you ever coveted (been jealous of) other people's stuff?
I do not know about you but it is not looking good for me so far – I am definitely getting coal for Christmas! Worse than that, every time I fall short of this standard, another list gets longer – the list God has of all my wrongs against Him.
How did you go?
Now many I've spoken to say 'God will forgive me because my list of wrongs is not as long as other peoples' lists...I am a good person!' Well, how good do you have to be to get over the line?
The truth is simple: none of us are good enough! Romans chapter 3 verse 23 says "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God".
But wait, there is some good news amidst the doom and gloom. God loved us enough to make a way for the punishment we should have received to be placed on someone else – Jesus. When He died on the cross, he made a way for those lists of wrongs to be erased forever if we first trust that Jesus is more than capable of saving us and, secondly, we turn to Him as our Lord. That means living as best we can in obedience to God and trusting that He will help us to do this.
The reward for making this decision to follow Jesus is more than the gift you desire to get this year, it is a 'blank record' that leads to eternal life in heaven.