Links Daily Devotional

Receiving God’s Gifts

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10, NIV)

Yesterday we spoke of the gifts God gives. Today let’s consider what it means to receive them rightly.

If we are taught well in our childhood, one thing we are trained in is how to receive a gift. For one, we receive it in the spirit with which it is given: graciousness. We want the giver to know that it is their giving, more than the gift, that we appreciate. Thus, we may say thanks even before opening the package.

And yet, there is something wonderful about a gift perfectly chosen. Not only is it easier to receive in the moment, but it can be increasingly appreciated for the whole of its life.

God gives us such gifts—gifts that we appreciate more and more as time passes. Indeed, because God’s gifts sometimes come in a wrapping of difficulty, it is hard to receive them in the moment. And yet, when we turn around and look at the life that has brought us to the day we call Today, we see God’s hand guiding every twist and turn as he has made us to be his mature sons and daughters.

But surely we can improve how we receive gifts from God, especially at the outset of their coming our way.

First, we must have our spiritual eyes open. God’s gifts so frequently do not look like the world’s gifts. The woman at the well recognized something marvelous about Jesus, but her eyes were still trained on the things of this world—the water in the village well. Jesus shook her from that thinking when he spoke of a water which after being drunk causes the drinker to never thirst again. This he called “living water,” and only he could provide it. We do not recognize gifts like this either, unless we have turned our hearts to Jesus and allowed him to show us afresh how to look at his goodness.

Second, we must be prepared to use God’s gifts in the way that he intends for us to. In Paul’s writing to the Romans, he addressed the faulty reasoning that suggested that the gift of God’s grace was a license to sin. “No!” Paul wrote. “We do not go on sinning that grace may abound!” (Romans 6:1-2). In the opening lines of James’ epistle, the brother of Jesus wrote that trials are a gift from God to train us in perseverance—thus, we must respond to them with joy. These are not responses born of man’s reason; they are responses of kingdom men and women, recognizing the greater purposes of God.

Finally—and with great importance—we must receive God’s gifts with trust. Surely it is trust that even allows us to recognize the difference in God’s gifts and to use them as he intends. If we doubt the Giver or his gift, we will choose our own way with it. But if we are sure of his excellence, his creativity, and his love, we will be sure as well of the beauty of the gifts he gives. We will know that his gifts are as trustworthy as he is.

Jeff Hopper

September 19, 2012

Copyright 2012 Links Players International

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