I try so hard to extend my dollars in any way I can. Even with 'free' money. I got a gift card to Dillard's from my son, Andy. $100!! Wow. So I went there a couple of weeks ago, on the prowl. Hit the clearance racks first. Nope. nada, nothing. Then I went to the cosmetics section. The section I think I have purchased from maybe three times in my life. Looking for something I can't live without. But what would be even better would be, drum roll please! Free gift with purchase. I love getting makeup. Feel all girly and everything. But at those prices, they had better include something spectacular! Needless to say, I went home empty handed that day. No clearance sales, no gift with purchase cosmetics. Will wait for their seasonal clearance sales and try again!
Free gift with purchase sounds great doesn't it? But what is even better is if someone makes the purchase for you...double the free gifts!!
There is Someone in my life who did exactly that for me! His name is Jesus. He made the ultimate purchase for me. He purchased my salvation on the cross. He died an atrocious death to pay the price for my sins. He willingly and freely placed Himself on that cross for me. That is a purchase that at no matter how low a price I could never have paid for. And I do not mean this lightly in any way, but what a bargain. I get my old sin nature taken from me. I receive grace and mercy, eternal life with my Heavenly Father and all I have to do is accept it! Count me in. And not just that purchase was handed to me.
I also received a free gift with purchase. And that in itself is a vast understatement. Gifts with purchase. I received new mercies every morning. I received a love that is incomparable. I received the ultimate gift of the Holy Spirit; which entails many more gifts! Like one of those matryoshka dolls, or Russian nesting dolls. Open one up, and there is another inside; and another, and another. God is like that. He gives us the supreme gift of life and then just keeps stacking up more.
He has given me gifts that bless me, that also make it possible for me to bless others. The Gift that keeps on giving. Without His Holy Spirit in my life, I rely on myself to get through the day. Epic fail! I can't get out the door without getting frantic over missing keys or glasses. I can't get down the street without reacting to someone's bad driving. I can't bluff my way through this life with so-called good behavior, because I fail more often than not. But with one of the free gifts of the Holy Spirit, what we call the fruit of the Holy Spirit, I am not relying on just myself to get me through the day. Galations 5:22 lists this fruit as love, joy, peace, long-suffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Imagine waking up every morning and making a conscious effort to 'open' this gift before starting the day. What a better person we would be. What a more true representative of Christ. What a nicer way to go through the day, than by pulling yourself up by your own boot straps. What greater satisfaction than being able to look in the mirror after the end of the day and saying I was a faithful ambassador for the Lord today.
There are so many more things that I could go into regarding His gifts. Spiritual gifts such as prophecy and healing. The gifts of the offices in the church; apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Other gifts are those that benefit others in the body; helps, hospitality, administrations.
I want to tie this all up with a scripture in 2 Timothy 1:7, "For He has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." This verse tells us something that He did NOT give us. Fear. Fear is from the enemy of our soul and has no place in our lives. 1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment." God has not given us fear; rather He has given us power, love and a sound mind. He has given us power, the Greek word here is dunamis. The same word used when Jesus rose from the dead! He has given us power to accomplish all that He has willed us to accomplish.
He has given us love! That love that is eternal and that casts out fear that can so paralyze us. Love that empowers us to bless others, to love and pity our enemies. Love to share Christ with the world.
And a sound mind. I don't know about you, but most days I need this more than most of the gifts. To me, this brings to mind the verse that talks about being a double minded person, they are unstable in all their ways, (James 1:8). To me, this is believing God one minute, doubting Him the next. Living in faith one moment, fear and uncertainty the next. The sound mind is disciplined. Hm, that word sounds familiar. Maybe from the same root word that disciple comes from. So if we are disciples of Jesus, live according to His tenets, love according to His commandments; we will have a sound mind. I love that.
So, think on these things the next time you doubt that you can get something for nothing. That there is no such thing as a free lunch. That you get what you pay for. Remember that the greatest bounty we will ever receive was given to us generously and with the only restriction being that we say yes.
So let me say that. Yes, si, oui, ja, sim, ken, hai, ndiyo, shi, baleh, na'am, da. I could go on, trying to say it in every language known to man, but I just want to say it with a truly grateful heart to the One who loves me more than anything and who has given me the greatest gifts I could ever ask for.