Every Good Gift!
March 15th, 2019
What do you think of when I ask you to think about the very best thing that you could be given? Do you think about a nice house, a cozy cottage by the lake, a new car or the latest techno gadget?
I just might.
I think most of us might as well.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
James 1:17-18 (ESV)
We equate goodness with those things that appease our flesh. It is ‘natural’ isn’t it?
While we remain in the flesh, we can and will have desires that come from the flesh. This will be the case so long as we live in these fleshly bodies.
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
Galatians 5:17 (ESV)
There is within each of us an ongoing battle between the flesh and the Spirit. Jesus spoke to the Father and asked that he give us an adoption gift upon our redemption into God’s Family.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
John 14:16-17 (ESV)
The Spirit of truth in us! The third good gift given to every believer in Jesus Christ.
Third, you may ask.
The first and most important gift Jesus gives us is himself. He gave himself on the cross to obtain a pardon and grace for all who would trust in him. Both pardon and grace are the first two gifts given to us.
Pardon is secured for all. But the pardon isn’t exercised for all, until there is a surrender to the will of God in Christ Jesus, and we entrust our lives in him for our salvation. At that point, the pardon is exercised, and grace is imparted, giving us the second gift, resulting in our redemption.
Then what Jesus outlines in John 14:16-17 is that third gift for everyone who invests their trust in Jesus, the Spirit of truth. We know of him as the Holy Spirit.
This isn’t merely the assignment of the Spirit to us but causing the Spirit to live in us! Every disciple of Jesus receives these three first gifts. In doing so our willingness to yield to the Spirit will determine just how this struggle between the Spirit and the flesh will shake out.
The fully surrendered life will yield to the Spirit and disregard fleshly desires, in favor of that that which the Spirit seeks.
Both the Spirit and the flesh seek to accumulate. But what they accumulate are radically different. The flesh seeks that which is temporary and fleeting. The Spirit seek that which is eternal and everlasting.
These are typified by the first three good and perfect gifts given to us; pardon, grace and the Spirit
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace
1 Peter 4:10 (ESV)
It is incumbent we use these “good and perfect” gifts to benefit others. Most if not all of us have natural talents granted to us. These are things we need to develop and share with others.
The next thing we realize about the gifts of God is that these gifts are irrevocable treasures that remain with us.
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Romans 11:29 (ESV)
It is fitting that the gift given us by God are permanent and irrevocable by nature because Jesus doesn’t call us to gather up worldly goods, but instead to tuck away treasures in heaven where there is no corruption.
Heaven where you need not polish the silver because there is no corruption. Those things made shiny by God remain shiny that which God gives us remains with us and is irrevocable.
Not that that which God gives us in these good and perfect gifts isn’t something we can’t dampen by our disobedience. We can. We shouldn’t, but we can and often do. If this were not the case, then Jesus wouldn’t need to tell us about how he desires we maintain the light he gives us (yet another good and perfect gift).
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV)
We obviously can hide the light given us but what Jesus wants us to do is to share that light with others. It’s our flesh that prevents us from sharing the light he gives us. The struggle continues.
Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.
1 Corinthians 14:1 (ESV)
Try not to get too hung up on the word ‘prophesy’ here, if we look up Strong’s reference for the original Greek for this word, we find among the variants listed…
To utter forth, declare, a thing which can only be known by divine revelation
This make what Paul is talking about a bit clearer and brings us to another gift of God that we have as well; God’s Word. We have God’s Word because we have Jesus and Jesus IS THE WORD.
As the struggle between our flesh and the Spirit in us continues till we are called home to live with the Lord, we want to resist the flesh and focus in on those gifts that God is imparting to us on a regular basis.
Immersion in God’s Word is something every believer should be dedicated to. Between God’s Word and our willingness to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, we will see those divine revelations and thusly be able ‘to utter forth’ those things which only the Spirit can teach us.
It all works together neatly. Those first and greatest gifts given us are something Jesus wants us to share with everyone.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)
“Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”; utter forth, prophecy. The sharing of the light in us, teaching that which has been revealed to us by the Spirit through the Word, being fruitful disciples of Jesus Christ.
Using “Every Good Gift” imparted to us to be the disciples that Jesus calls us to be.
In Jesus – The Way!