its a giftFreely you have received; freely give.  Matthew 10:8b NIV

I have a hard time rolling my “R” in Spanish, but I gave it one more try. “Regalo”. We were in Colombia giving away Bibles on the street. We randomly walk up to someone and extend our hand to give them a small New Testament. It’s free (gratis). They still gave us a puzzled look. My translator, Leo, encouraged us to also tell them it was a gift or a present – “Regalo”. Even our little attempt to speak the Spanish language was rewarded with a sparkle in the eye and a slight smile as they took the Bible and replied, “for me?” (para mi?)

Giving is one of the core motivational qualities in our relationship with God. He loves the world so much… that He gave His son. However, it is also one of the stumbling blocks for a person to become a believer. They think, “why would God choose to give such a precious gift to someone like me?” There is a deep understanding that you know that you don’t deserve it. Instead of receiving God’s offer, you try to think of a way to earn it. The reality is, you will never be good enough.

This thought process of trying to earn your salvation continues even after becoming a believer. It’s hidden in thoughts such as these. “Today, God likes me a little better because I have been pretty good lately.” “God loves me, but He is withholding a little bit because I have not been going to church or reading my Bible like I am supposed to.” “This bad stuff is happening because God is mad at me.” 

At the root of each of these statements is the belief that your actions control how God responds to you. Because of Jesus sacrifice, God maintains His goodness and love toward you regardless of your actions. God demonstrates His love at the point of your worst moment in your life. He chose to see value in you for Jesus to substitute His life in death on the cross on your behalf.

Our verse says freely receive, freely give. On a scale of 1-10, what number would you give on your “receiving” scale from God?  To truly be a great giver, you have to first learn to be a great receiver. You don’t have the skill set nor the ability to earn God’s favor and love. He gives of Himself freely because you are His child. Are you a good receiver of God’s love and grace to you?

Tomorrow we will address receiving some specific gifts from the Holy Spirit, like joy, that He gives to you. Today when you sense God wants you to have something, in your mind’s eye look over at Jesus. Ask him, “Is it really for me (para mi)?” He smiles and replies, “Regalo”.

Blessings  Love y’all