(Guest Column by Barb Lissow, Faith Lutheran Church)
God’s Perfect Gift
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the Word of truth that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created.” James 1:17-18
It’s December, and most of our thoughts are whirling around the Holy Christmas season. How quickly this gift-giving season has surprised me—that happens as we grow older—time passes with lightening speed! I have to remind myself to slow down to a crawl and take that valuable time to remember what the focus of Christmas should be. That focus is why we are blessed with God’s perfect Gift, and why that Gift must be shared to a hurting world! It reflects the indescribable love that can heal those hurts with Jesus’ everlasting love. Here are some reasons to believe in the promises of God that are shared in His Word (also through many ministry studies), and how He shows us that He is the Perfect Gift Giver:
God loves to give gifts. Long before we took our first breath, our Creator showed Himself to be a great giver of everything a man or woman could ask for. Today, He still wants to give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). Yet His best offer is so priceless and so perfectly suited to our needs, many think it’s too good to be true.
The Gift is described in the Bible. The Bible described a wonderfully mysterious Gift that goes far beyond anything we’ve ever received. But does God offer to give us the desires of our heart as a reward for good living? No. The Bible refers to this spiritual package as salvation and calls it the ‘gift of God.’ (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9)
The Gift cannot be earned. God’s perfect Gift of salvation comes not by merit but by mercy, not by trying but by trusting. ‘By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.’ (Ephesians 2:8-9)
The Gift comes with a proof of purchase. The receipt we hold for His payment is the record of history: Jewish prophets predicted a Messiah who would deliver His people from sin (Isaiah 53; Daniel 9:26). The Gospels tell us that He healed the sick, raised the dead, and gave hope to the oppressed. Instead of riding to power on the shoulders of adoring crowds, He voluntarily died at the hands of Roman executioners. Three days later, He walked out of a guarded tomb (Luke 24:1-7).
The Gift was wrapped with care. God visited a young woman named Mary and miraculously wrapped Himself in her womb. When all seemed lost, God wrapped His Gift in reports of witnesses who told of a resurrection from the dead. For a final touch, the Creator gave His Gift a colorful bow of diversity—people from every nation whose hearts have been changed by His love (Revelation 5:9). God offers the Gift by grace through faith. The apostle Paul described the difference between Adam, who spread death to all his descendants, and Christ, who brought life to all who trust Him. The One who wants us to share the happiness of His eternal family knocks gently at the door of our hearts, ‘If by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many’ (Romans 5:15, John 1:12).
The Gift is available to anyone. Most of Jesus’ best friends were fishermen, not scholars. One was a tax collector. One had been possessed by demons. One sold her body for a living. What they had in common was their willingness to accept the Gift of God.
The Gift inspires gratitude. Those who’ve been saved from a burning building know what it means to live with a deep sense of gratitude. Those who know they’ve been rescued by God’s grace from the fires of judgment live out of their gratefulness to God (Ephesians 2:10).
May the very good and perfect Gift of Christ’s love be your focus this Christmas Season! And please join Pastor Kirk and our congregation at the Community Sing-Along on Friday, December 20, at 7 PM, at Faith Lutheran Church, 856 W. Eldredge Road, Pocatello, ID!
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15