On Christmas morning, I had the privilege of giving my daughter a gift that was very special to me.
As she opened her gifts of barbie dolls and artsy crafts, I waited in anticipation of how she would feel about the gift I labeled the "greatest gift." Sure enough, as she opened the final gift, her face came alive.
Her gift was the Sequin Sparkle and Change Bible. Adorned with a beautiful sequin cover and filled with pages for notes and deeper study for children, this Bible gave her the opportunity to have a Bible that matched her age and her style. As a mother, it made my heart so happy to hear her say, "My favorite gift was my new Bible." Truthfully, earlier this week I posted a video about my personal excitement of giving her this gift. However, I was secretly hoping this gift would mean as much to her and that she would receive it well.
I mean, have you ever given someone a gift that they didn't really like? Better yet, have you ever offered someone a gift only for them to completely reject it?
Over the last few weeks, the Lord has been revealing to me more than ever that He truly is the greatest gift. As I gave my daughter this Bible, it was representation of how we can offer Jesus to other people. The great news is this, He offered himself as my personal gift, before I was even born. Even before I made my first mistake, the Lord said, "I offer myself to you and died for you, not because of who you are, but because of who I am." There's nothing you can do to earn the gift of salvation.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Ephesians 2:8
The following questions have been ringing through my heart lately:
1.) Have I fully accepted the greatest gift (Jesus)?
As in, not just "knowing” about God, but taking Him as my own. Have I decided that to know the Lord beyond head knowledge? Have I allowed Him to have full authority in my life.
2.) Are there aspects of God I have rejected?
With this I must ask myself, are there only certain areas of my life that I have allowed God to infiltrate. Are there areas of my life that I have neglected to surrender to God? What are those secret hidden places of my life that have caused me to feel like I am unworthy of who He is? Are there addictions, unbecoming habits, illicit sins that I refuse to deal with? Have I made every effort to reflect a changed heart?
3.) How often do I share the greatest gift with others?
The last thing that Jesus commands, "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” (Matthew 28:19). Yet, I meet so many Christians that refuse to share the Gospel. They fear what people will think or that they will be bunched into the category of "hypocritical Christians." We must all come to a point that we move past our reservations and simply share Jesus. He is the hope, peace, and love that so many need to encounter. Even more so, He is the Way to eternal life.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
How could we not share God to a hopeless world? How could we not share Jesus freely? I have found that telling people about the Lord is the most exciting and rewarding things that I could ever do. Are there times when people reject the "gift"? Absolutely! But, I choose to keep sharing Him to others with every chance He gives.
4.) Am I presenting the "package" in a worthy manner?
This is a major aspect of Christianity. In today's society, Christianity is split into two camps: "Accept Jesus or go to Hell or "God loves everyone." Some Christians focus on maximum condemnstion while others neglect accountability to righteousness. The issue with this variation is that so many non-Christians are unsure how to really "take" Christians. They never know what they are going to get when they interact with those who say they follow Christ. Thus, when we present Christ many are automatically turned off from accepting Him.
The Lord wants us to recognize the heavy responsibility of being a representative of Christ. As Christians, we are called to be His ambassadors and draw people back to Him. We must ask ourselves this...
Do our lives encourage people to accept or reject Jesus?
Imagine for a moment someone forcefully shoved a tattered gift into your hand. Though the gift may be great on the inside, you would be turned off by the manner it was given and the presentation. We should seek not to be perfect, but to let our lives be an example of His goodness. When we do so, others will be drawn to us and the God we serve.
I challenge you to take a moment to reflect on your salvation and the salvation of those around you. Ask the Lord if there are areas where you have not fully accepted Jesus. Even more so, ask the Lord to give you moments where you can share Him with others. Truly, this gift cannot be purchased through our good works or words alone. If we only ask and believe, He is free for all to enjoy.
I accept you into my heart. I thank you for being born and dying on the cross for my sins. Teach me your ways so that I may not sin against you. Speak to me and give my heart peace. Help me Lord to have courage to share you with all those I encounter. I cast out all fear of people and their critiques. Let my life be a living testimony of your goodness. Thank you for being the greatest gift I have ever received. In Jesus Name. Amen.
For more on living a life of every day victory, follow Victory Speaks on Facebook. I also encourage you to pick up your copy of The Victory Walk! This is a great addition to your daily Bible reading and will give you a great start to the New year.