Immanuel – Do I Really Believe It?

January was a time for new beginnings, new resolutions, new habits! Many of us start our Bible reading plan or exercise routines full of confidence that this year will be different. And thankfully sometimes it is- how is it going for you?

But often February comes, and we have to admit that the habits may have gotten lost in the shuffle of daily urgencies, and see many things still undone. 

This year, as I observed Advent and celebrated the birth of our Savior, one word continually struck my heart – Immanuel

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, 

and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

The verses and songs are so familiar we can easily overlook the weight carried in the meaning of this specific name of God’s gift to us. It certainly landed differently on my heart this year. Immanuel – God with us.  

Ponder this: 

GOD with us.

God WITH us.

God with US. 

Jesus affirmed his commitment to not leave His disciples alone in John 14-17. It is why He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and how He is “with us always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). Paul teaches that the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead dwells in us (Romans 8:11). “God with us” is not just a nice saying for Christmas – it is astounding, awesome, powerful! It changes everything!

I remember watching the Truth Project series years ago and being confronted by Dr. Tacket’s question, “Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?” I was challenged – does my life reflect that I really believe Jesus is Immanuel, God with us? Do I live daily as if this is really real?

How often during my day do I go about my own business asking for His blessing without seeking His presence first?

While my head and heart unequivocally affirm His presence, does my functional theology – how I live out my faith – actually prove I believe it or not? 

So rather than organizing my planner and setting new resolutions for study and exercise, I have one goal for this year, and I challenge you to join me because the Word says He is with us – we need each other to finish the race well. This year, I want to live like I really believe God is Immanuel – present with us every single moment. In every interaction, every choice, the big and small things, the joys and sorrows, alone and all my relationships, whether walking through the mundane of daily life or struggling with trials and disappointments. I am confident that living in the truth of this will change my thoughts, words, and actions. I would love to share this journey with you. 

Dear loving, gracious Father, we bow before you and praise you for the gift of Immanuel! How astounding that you, God Almighty, Creator of all things, would choose to dwell within such weak creatures as we are by sending your Spirit. Let the truth of Immanuel become tangible reality in our lives in increasing ways this coming year, for Your glory and the good of Your Church. ~Amen

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