Sunday, January 24, 2016

Freely Given

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” – Romans 8:32
There are so many gifts that God has given “FREELY” in the Bible.  It started in the Garden of Eden where there were several trees that we could “FREELY” eat from.  Only days into our creation, God was giving us free gifts. 
When Jesus came, he fulfilled the words written in Hoses 14:4, giving us the greatest free gift.  God said “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them “FREELY”, for My anger has turned away from him.”  God’s love is freely given, not earned. If we had to earn it, who would be worthy of it?
Then Jesus instructs his disciples to heal the sick and leapers, raise the dead, and cast out demons because, as He told them, “FREELY you have received, FREELY give” he said in Matthew 10:8.  In the very next verse he tells them not to take anything with them to support themselves – not even extra clothing!  Why? Because God would see that they were taken care of. 
Of course, God gave the greatest gift when we were “FREELY” justified by His grace through the sacrifice of Christ (Romans 3:24).  That’s a gift we could get from no one else.  In the highest court of all, there’s only one judge and jury, and that is God.  His justification was the only way we could be made right in His eyes.
And just in case you’re thinking “yeah, but it’s not all free”….well, no, actually it is!  Romans 8:31-32 says “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also “FREELY” give us ALL things?” Friend…that word ‘all’ means ALL.  There are no exclusions.
But we don’t want what we CAN have.  Instead, we want what we CANNOT have.  The first temptation was in Eve to have what she was denied - the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  She had plenty to eat and it was given freely!  But she wanted what she could not have or she would never have been tempted to taste it.  One of the reasons we don’t accept God’s gifts because we don’t want what we can have.  Instead we want to earn it, or win it.  Some would even rather steal it! 
I wonder, would God’s gifts be more enticing if we had to enter a sweepstakes application to get them? 
Maybe if there was a “Win God as Father” lottery and we had to buy tickets to win? 
Would they be more desirable if we had to perform some horrendous physical feat and be awarded His gifts?
The desire to have things that we cannot have is in all of us, and is the very seed of evil. James 1:14 says that “each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed”.  We believe we must have what we should not have.  God tells us what is good for us and what is not, and offers us good and perfect gifts, and yet we run after evil as if it were an ice cream truck in the middle of July! 
The second reason we don’t accept His free gifts is a lack of trust in God.  We doubt His integrity.  We doubt that His gifts are truly free, fulfilling all our desires, or even really given.  We doubt His ability to heal, feed, care for, and clothe us.  Somehow we believe that there is a sacrifice that outweighs the gifts.  If only we could believe as the disciples did, and leave it all behind to follow! 
Just stop and imagine for a moment all the things you are struggling to obtain now being given to you freely.  Imagine finding contentment.  Imagine having peace in your relationships, food on your table, health, a heart full of joy, and blessings you never knew to ask for all given freely as you need them.  While we may enjoy some free gifts, the truth is we won’t trust Him for all of them.  So we struggle.
There’s an old saying that “nothing good is ever free”.  But I attest to you, that is a partial truth.  In all reality, few things given on this earth for free are truly worthwhile, but all things given from God’s hands - for free - are most excellent gifts, and should be desired above all else.  James 1:17 says that “EVERY good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights”.  Those perfect gifts are free.
Freely accept His love and His gifts today.  Stop the struggle to do it yourself.  The gifts you want don’t come from you – but from Him.   
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life FREELY.” – Revelation 22:17
Father God, I thank you for your gifts.  You are so good to me.  You are my love.  You are my breath, my life and my eternal life.  You are my healing, and my contentment is within you.  You are the source of my joy.  I thank you that you give freely good gifts to your children because I could never be worthy of them.  You lead me into paths of righteousness, but even when I go to the ditch line, you draw me back.  You are my everlasting love, and in you alone is my hope.  I praise you God because you have revealed your love to me.  Amen.



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