By Debra Whittington
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10
It was a surprise when we received a phone call asking our family to take part in the famous Nielsen ratings. I wondered why we were chosen. We don’t watch as much television as we used to and there are only two people in the household. To top it all off we don’t live in a metropolitan area and we are a simple, middle class family.
Mark was told to expect an envelope to arrive in the mail in about a week. A few days later a post card came announcing that the envelope would follow in a couple of days, which it did.
The process is basically easy as there is a page for each day with all of the times already printed. You record the show you watched, how many people watched it and for how long. It is easier to keep up with if you make the entry right after you watch the show and not wait until the next day like I did.
It is interesting to look back at the previous day and see a pattern in television watching habits. For example, I like to start the day by watching a few minutes of the morning news while I wake up and drink my first cup of coffee. I watch one channel for the weather and then switch to another channel because they have a wider variety of stories.
Now the question is how can television ratings relate to salvation and being a Christian.
We need to remember that God chose us and not the other way around. In John 15:16 Jesus stated, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”
Paul wrote to the believers in Ephesus,: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. (Ephesians 1:3-5)
How wonderful it is to know that God chose us. Each of us is so special to Him that He provided a way to come to Him. (John 3:16) Before the world began He already chose man and knew about each and every one of us.
Long before Jesus was born, the prophets told the people that the Messiah was coming and to get ready for His arrival. Jesus fulfilled all of those prophecies when He was born in Bethlehem.
Next, we need to remember that we have to come to Him through faith believing that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and asking Him into our hearts. The grace freely given to us is through Jesus and not through our own efforts. Although we do good works, as a result of our salvation, there is no way good works alone can get us into heaven.
When I complete the week’s television diary there will be a record of every television show we watched. I am not exactly sure what will happen to it, but I do know about my sins being forgiven. Jesus died on the cross once and for all sin. When I mess up and sin, I can come before the Father and confess those sins and turn away from them. From that point on, they are forgotten forever. As David wrote in Psalm 103:11-12, “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us”.
As we enter the Advent season I pray that we will think about the reason we are celebrating the holidays. Just as the prophets foretold the coming of Jesus may we remember why He came.