Thursday, March 09, 2006

What do you have that you did not receive?

There are truths in the Bible that are so powerful that they would transform our lives if we would only believe them. One such truth is how God is the Giver of everything we have:
The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things - Acts 17:24-25

What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? - 1 Cor. 4:7

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above
, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. - James 1:17
This truth is one of the most powerful antidotes to the poison of pride in our lives. What do we have that we did not receive? NOTHING. Everything we have, our talents, our strength, our minds, our relationships, our possessions, our ministries, and every breath we take has been given to us. But make no mistake about it, we have received all these things as gifts, coming down from our heavenly Father. They are not payments that we have earned, but are gifts that have been given undeservingly.

And how undeserving we are! These gifts were not given to obedient children who do what they are supposed to do. They were given to rebellious, ungrateful children. In our sin, the only thing we have earned is death and destruction. Yet, we have received, and continue to receive, grace upon grace. I like C.J. Mahaney's response whenever people ask how he's doing: "Better than I deserve." Every second of life that we experience that is not hell is a gift of grace from God. This will be true for every second of all eternity.

Oh, if we would only believe this truth, that everything we have is an undeserved gift from God! It would create in us so much thankfulness, joy, humility, love, courage... and destroy so much of our envy, pride, complaining, insecurity, and a thousand other sins. May God be pleased to give us the gift of knowing Him as our all-sufficient Giver.

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