Tag Archive: Gifts



“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, is is the gift of God – 9not by works, so that no one can boast.” -Ephesians 2:8-9

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Only from God’s infinite graciousness, and our Faith in Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection, are we saved. There is no work, nor deed, we can do of our own accord to make us worthy of the gift. Contained within this gift is the gift of salvation, and thereby a deeper relationship with our Lord and Savior. This gift is offered freely and we shouldn’t look to making ourselves worthy of the gift, but rather realize that the gift has already been offered and the choice is ours to either accept or deny it.

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Yet, we struggle at times, striving to be worthy of the gift, and in essence, belittling the gift offered. It is, to use unworthy human terminology, the greatest of all charitable and merciful gifts. For the gift of life to the dead has the ability to transform lives in amazing ways and it raises us up unto life. Furthermore, it shows how dead we were in sin, and how alive we are in Christ.

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(see my note concerning Romans 6:23, “On The Justice and The Gift”)

The amazing thing is this gift has already been offered to all. Anyone can accept this gift without some worldly action or deed, which testifies to the amazing glory and mercy of God. We are all equally worthless in terms of our ability to able to well up a spring of life within ourselves due to our actions. Rather, our eternal worth is found in the Lord. Thus, let us not boast of our actions and victories, for they, in and of themselves, have no ability to procure the gift. Rather, boast in the Lord, who has offered the gift, to those unworthy, and to all manner of the multitude of sinners and disobedient, due strictly to His great love and mercy for all His creation. May He be forever praised. Amen.

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“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” -2 Corinthians 12:7

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"The Conversion of Saul," by Gustave Dore. engraving, c. 1865

Let us not compare our Christian walk or spiritual gifts with anyone else in the Body of Christ. Romans 12:6-8 makes it abundantly clear that we differ in gifts and those godly manifestations expressed in the body. These are from God and are granted to us by His grace. This is important to realize, for even these blessed gifts by the Lord can be used by our sinful nature to feed our pride.

The enemy loves to turn our work for the Lord into something sinful. It’s not to say the work of the Lord in and of itself is sinful, of course not, but rather that we ourselves may sin in our efforts to be in complete obedience with our Lord. We may have the gift of prophecy and we may serve, teach, encourage, give, lead, or show mercy. Yet, a hidden danger might lie in wait, for instead of acknowledging the source, we may use these gifts to feed our pride. This verse suggests that Paul himself was tempted with this as he followed obediently to complete God’s great works.

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"Apostle Paul," by Rembrandt. oil on canvas, c. 1657

Yet, God in His wisdom knew that this would hinder the great work He was doing through and with Paul. This partnership would have been spoiled if the apostle would have become conceited. So, there was given to Paul a thorn in his flesh, “a messenger of Satan,” to torment him. What this “thorn” actually was has been debated for some time. These range from a physical malformation or defect of some sort, to a sin that tormented Paul. Regardless of what it was, we know that this “thorn” kept Paul grounded with the Lord, and he eventually found that “thorn” to be a blessing, for without it Christ’s power wouldn’t be able to “rest on him” to the degree it did.

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Outside Christ, who was perfect, even the most amazing men of God in the scriptures had grievous faults, which should give us some hope. It certainly does me. Moses for example was a murderer, had anger issues, was a stutterer, and was disobedient to the Lord. Though Moses was disciplined for this by not being able to enter the promised land, God used this faulty man to do an amazing work, as He can use us, as faulty as we are, to do great works as well.

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"Moses Striking The Egyptian (detail)," Amsterdam Hagadah, c. 1695

When we come to the Lord in faith, He is not beyond bringing hardship, weakness, persecutions, “thorns,” and difficulties in our lives so that we may not loose sight of Him. If we are too prideful in our walk with the Lord and in the gifts He bestows in us, we should not be too shocked when, in His sovereignty, brings about a hardship to “ground” us.

Although I don’t like speaking for God, I do feel comfortable saying that God doesn’t want to encourage sin in your life. So if you haven’t been granted gifts to a fullness yet, perhaps if they were given unto you, the glory would go to the self and not God.

Let us pray for the understanding at only comes from the Spirit, that we may be instructed on how to avoid becoming to proud in our obedience and the gifts God pours into us. Let us pray that we will give credit where it’s due, that is, to the source of the gifts we are presented and indeed all things. Let us forever strive not to pervert that which is Holy or shift the glory of God onto the self. May He be forever praised. Amen.

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“But, ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.'”-2 Corinthians 10:17

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When we try and examine it to determine what is proper or not, we find pride and its kin to be a curious batch. Some may believe that pride of any kind is bad, some maybe of only the self, and even some perhaps feel as long as it doesn’t encroach upon God, then a certain amount might be okay.

Well, according to Paul there is one thing we can take pride in and that’s our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, we are granted permission to boast of what our Lord has done in the presence of all man. We should boast in both what Christ has done for us, or through us. It is proper to feel honored that the Lord may choose you to accomplish His will, but the moment that realization goes to our ego, it becomes wrong. To keep from this pride realize that Christ is always working through you and in addition, to keep others from stumbling, realize that Christ works through others as well.

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Yet, the Lord has given us a sense of joy and accomplishment that we frequently feel in our lives. This is where I may get some disagreements, but to not acknowledge ones gifts seems of false humility and in itself sinful. Therefore, there needs to be some reconciliation between pride and acknowledgement of ones efforts.

When we come to Christ it is a relationship and you have a hand in all things Christ does. This is no secret for we are told we share in His glory. Should one be “proud” of ones accomplishments and their striving to lead a godly life? I don’t think realization of this is any issue, if kept in proper perspective. What all these sins have in common are comparisons. When one feels prideful, unhealthily, we juxtapose ourselves with others and consider ourselves “better” or “greater” then they are for any number of reasons. This feeds pride.

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Envy is the exact opposite, when one compares themselves with another and finds themselves lacking in relation to their own conception of the “greatness” of that other party. In addition, we find there are things that people take pride in like their children. God the Father said of His Son, in Matthew 3:17, that He is, “Well pleased.”

So what is true humility? I am under the impression that a true humble person who opens themselves to the Lord and let’s Him work through them, does not compare himself/herself to anyone, but merely focuses more, not on the stature and status of those around them, but rather how their relationship with God is developing. A developing relationship with God is bound to produce fruits and one can acknowledge those with no sin. However, if say, one were to compare the godliness of himself/herself with someone else, than this is sinful. Do not compare yourself to others in this way, for all members of the Body of Christ are important.

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Do not be so hesitant concerning the sin of pride that in seeking to be humble you deny those things the Lord has given you. Would Michael Jordan say he wasn’t very good at basketball? This would be absurd and thereby false humility. The thing about false humility is that it usually serves pride more than any simple acknowledgement of God’s particular gift would. If one gives proper thanks to the Lord, uses it for the purpose He has designated it for in your life, and you don’t compare it to other gifts or those who may have a same gift, then this is true humility. Remember most of pride is based on a foundation of that which is relative. Take the relativity out of it and you may gain discernment through this, and prayer, on how to live a humble life and respond properly as any given situation demands.

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