12/18/2020 Junior High Devotional

Devotional 3 

Read Luke 2:8-20

I often ask myself whether or not God loves me. I know that He does in theory, but oftentimes it’s difficult for me to truly believe that he does. If I’m being honest, the reason it’s often hard for me to believe I am loved is because I have a hard time loving myself. Often my shame will lead me instead of God’s love. I often think of the reasons why I am unlovable instead of the reasons I am loved. I think of my mistakes and my shortcomings. Often the voice in my head reminding me of my past will speak louder than the one reminding me that I am loved. 

Perhaps you have experienced something similar. Perhaps you have also wondered whether or not God loves you. In theory God’s love for us is beautiful, yet there’s a moment when theory must become reality. For many of us, God’s love remains theoretical and rarely becomes reality. 

Today I want us to lean into this simple truth: God’s love is for all of us. 

The love of Jesus was not simply for the religious or those who were “good”. The love of Jesus was extended to all people. We see this reality in Luke 2. The first people to hear the good news of the birth of Jesus were shepherds. The reason this is so important is because in the context of the time, shepherds did not have high status. They were not seen as the most important people in society. In fact, shepherds were among the lowest in society. Yet, it was the shepherds who heard the good news of the gospel first. They were the first to hear about the birth of Jesus. What a statement of what God’s kingdom looks like. The first ones who hear of the birth of the savior are the ones who are treated the lowest. 

Today, we don’t have as many shepherds. They still exist, but it’s different. Honestly, I’ve only met a couple of shepherds in Mexico (shoutout my grandpa). Yet this story speaks volumes to us today, even though we are not shepherds. I think if we’re being honest, many of us have felt like a shepherd. Not literally (unless you do have sheep at your house. Thats pretty cool). Instead, we all probably feel the way the shepherds did in scripture. Outcasted, unseen, and unimportant. These are all feelings that have translated well throughout time. For some reason humans have always come face to face with these feelings. 

The good news of the gospel is this: God came for you. While we may feel unlovable, the gospel says we are loved. While we may feel unseen, the gospel says that we are seen. While we may feel alone, the gospel says that Jesus is with us.

If you find yourself feeling like a shepherd, know this: God’s love is for all of us. No matter what we may feel or what status we may have. The gospel is not that the good people get God’s love and the bad people don’t. The gospel is that all people are loved and called into a life with Jesus. This Christmas let’s remember that we are loved, we are seen, we are important. 

Here’s a challenge for you and your family. In the moments where you feel yourself talking negatively in your mind, choose to speak positively. Many psychologists agree that positive talk is an essential part of mental health. One of the things that we can do in the confidence of Jesus is declare that we are loved. The next time you feel unloved, confidently declare that you are loved. You are seen. You are important. 

That is the good news of the Gospel. 

Blessings Family.

Author: Andy Palomares, Youth Pastor at Crosswalk SDA Church

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