My wife was given a $25.00 gift card to a ritzy high-end store. A thoughtful gift but problematic. We searched the retailer’s web site for to spend it. The prices began at sky high and went up from there.
We found that the only thing we could buy with a $25 gift card was another $25.00 gift card. Pointless!
Some of us wonder if God did us the same favor. We asked Jesus to be our Savior, expecting amazing things to come from it. And maybe our initial experience was awesome, but given the challenges we face these days, His gift doesn’t seem to go so far.
She has trouble resisting the temptation to binge eat. He faces opposition at work and doesn’t have the faintest idea how to deal with it. She says she trusts God, but she falls apart when things don’t go according to her plan. That gift from God doesn’t seem to be buying much these days.
But it can – and it should!
Listen to the words the apostle wrote in 2 Peter 1:3, “…His divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness….” Everything? Wow – try thinking that through!
It sounds like our God has generously given us a gift – packaged in Jesus, which contains every single resource we could ever need to live godly and effective lives. With this gift card we get the entire store.
Paul reverberates the same thought in Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ.”
Think of Christ as a gift box with your name on it. Now let’s open it and see what’s inside.
In Christ the controlling power of sin over us has been broken. (Romans 6:11) and we have the rock-solid assurance of eternal life. (Romans 6:23).
We have been stripped of the stifling burden of guilt before God because of Christ (Romans 8:1-2) We are given influence with God through prayer – prayers that are Spirit empowered (Romans 8:26)
Though we may be stubborn, God’s love for us is more stubborn. (Romans 8:39). We have answers now to the questions that once perplexed us because we have been given the wisdom of God in Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:30).
We were once trailing behind but are now triumphant because of Jesus. (2 Corinthians 1:14) and once blind but now we see thanks to Him. (2 Corinthians 3:14).
In Christ the old broken us has been made new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) We have graduated from laborious law-keeping to sweet liberty in Christ (Galatians 2:4)
We were exhumed from the grave and elevated to a place of power in Christ (Ephesians 2:1) We gained a forever friend who spoils us with His kindness. (Ephesians 2:7).
We were once exiled but have been brought into God’s inner circle thanks to Jesus. (Ephesians 2:13) and our pathetic wandering has given way to purpose because of Christ. (Ephesians 2:10)
We are given unsurpassable peace from God due to Jesus (Philippians 4:7) and in Him we have God’s generous pledge to provide our essential needs. (Philippians 4:19)
We have staggered into a place of stability because of Christ (Colossians 2:5) and we have the ironclad promise that He is coming back for us. (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
So – what should I do with that retailer’s gift card? Maybe I’ll regift it at the office party. But no way would I do that with God’s gift.
The issues of life can be complex. We spend a lot of energy looking for a “how” to solve them. But the how is nested in the who. That would be Jesus. In Him we have everything – everything we need. By God’s grace we’ll learn better as to how to redeem that gift card.
A PRAYER: Lord I often choose to live as a pauper when you have blessed me as a prince. Help me to experience all that you have for me.
This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you
Scripture references are from the NET Bible®