Christmas is here! Our kids kept reminding me to get their gifts already. What they don’t know is that I bought their gifts, kept it for a while and wrapped them using ordinary wrapping paper and placed it under the tree. The gifts had to be low-key this year 🙂
What was the best gift you’ve ever received for Christmas? Was it a new phone? a bag? a new hobby kit? Remember that feeling when you first laid eyes on that special present. You may have hugged the giver oh so tightly and thanked them profusely. What do you think the giver was feeling when he or she handed you the “best gift”? He or she probably felt relieved because first, you received the gift and second, you loved it!
I remember seeing the eyes of our kids sparkle when they open their presents and it was exactly what they wanted. Such a scene warms our hearts as parents because we know that we gave our kids not only what they want but also what they need.
I am reminded of the time I received the best gift ever. It’s not a new phone, a bag not even a baby. It’s the priceless gift that only God can give…it’s Jesus Christ. What? How can Jesus be a gift?
You are probably familiar with this verse:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Can you pause for a while and just read the verse again? Try to grasp what the verse really says. The verse starts with God showing us who He really is… He is LOVE! We see a God who does not only says he loves the world but He does something about it.
Has anyone told you they loved you yet their actions say otherwise? Exactly! But God is not like that at all. When His word says He loves us He has shown this love through Jesus Christ. God is an action-kind of God (how our pastor described him). Not a passive king who sits on his throne and watches his creation do what they want to do. He is a pro-active God!
How could a BIG, awesome, powerful God, love someone like me? I’m not at all special. I didn’t win any award that dramatically changed the ecosystem. I did not travel around the world to feed the hungry children. Nor did not come up with the best political strategy that impacted my country. I am just me. Why would he even bother with me? Why would he pay attention to me and my life?
When I contemplated on this verse it became clear to me that God loves because that is his nature. He loves us not because we are so deserving of his unconditional love, he loves us simply because He is love. He loves you because you are his prized possession.
Unfortunately, there is one thing that separates us from God’s love and that is the SIN that is natural to us. If Love is God’s nature, Sin is our nature. We may not be locked up in prison somewhere or committed a “big” sin, it is still SIN in God’s eyes. There is no big or small sin, neither is there a pink or white lie. God despises sin because that’s what separated Adam and Eve with him in the first place. It was SIN that made all of us unworthy to face God again.
Because of that sin, we fail miserably at loving God back. We try to be good persons so that God will approve of us. We support different charities, volunteer to help victims of calamities, donate money to friends and family who need them, we join a church, we try to follow the 10 commandments and we think what we do is good enough for the God who love us.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
All of the deeds we do are all good and God sees that. Unfortunately, He is not after what we do for him, He is after our hearts. Despite all the good things we do, if our sinful nature still controls our thoughts, emotions. words and life then, these things are just filthy rags in God’s eyes. We can never erase our sin by doing good. Because if we can, they why did God have to send Jesus His son, to die a humiliating death if we can save ourselves?
God takes sin seriously. Our efforts at getting right with God through our own means are puny. We can never measure up to a big, HOLY, awesome and just God. That is why it took the blood of his own son, Jesus Christ, to pay for all our sin so that if we believe in Christ’s sacrificial death, allow him to take the throne in our hearts and obey him, we will be acceptable in God’s eyes and in God’s kingdom. Again, it is not through our efforts that we are made right God, it with through Jesus Christ.
Do you see the gift I was referring to at the start of this post? Because God knows that the “good” we do or we try to be, will never be good enough. He has a very high standard that only person can satisfy: Jesus Christ. His gift to you and me is the one whose birthday we celebrate on Friday. His gift is Christ and Him alone.
And if we go back to the verse, it says that …“whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” This eternal life is another gift that is being offered once you and I put our complete trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross. Eternal life is the life we live when our bodies decay six feet below the ground. Eternal life is forever being with God, with Jesus. It’s a life in God’s kingdom, in heaven.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4
What an assurance for those who put their trust in Christ alone to save them from their sin. What a privilege to be called God’s people only because of Christ. What a comfort knowing that at the end of our life here on earth, there is something far greater to look forward to if you put our faith in Jesus alone.
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:11-12
I received God’s two-fold gift, Jesus Christ and eternal life, more than 10 years ago and my life was never the same. It was never easy, my brain and heart had to go through a lot of re-wiring and reconnecting. But in every difficulty and triumph, I am confident that Jesus was and will always be with me. I learned that if you only have Jesus, I have everything I need. I am complete. Jesus completes me. I am not rich in the standard of the world but my heart is rich because Jesus lives in me.
God continues to reshape my heart the way He wants it to be. I struggle at times at obeying him because I don’t understand what he is doing in my life. In most cases, it doesn’t make sense but I trust his will more than mine. I am a work in progress and He is not finished with me yet. I am eternally grateful for the gift he offered and I am honored to accept this gift from Him.
Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart now. He is offering his pure love to you, will you accept his gift? I hope you do!