OceanSide church of Christ
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GIFTS WE NEED TO GIVE OURSELVES
Victor M. Eskew
All of us are aware of Jesus’ words found in Acts 20:35. He said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Most of us like to give. We like to see the joy on the face of another as they open the gift and enjoy the prize that is inside. But, we also like to receive from time to time. It is a wonderful experience to open a gift to see what another has provided for us. It can be as simple as a brownie. It can be as expensive as a beautiful piece of jewelry. Both bring us pleasure and happiness.
With this thought in mind, we want you to be aware that it is possible to give yourself many gifts throughout the year. You do not have to wait on another person to give a gift to you. Let’s look at some of these precious gifts. First, you can give yourself a the gift of love. In Matthew 22:39, Jesus commands us to love our neighbor. Notice how He said this is to be done. “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” We are to love others as we love ourselves. This love can involve many things. It can involve acceptance of who we are. It can also involve our taking care of ourselves as we should. It involves taking care of the needs that we have. To help us give the gift of love to ourselves, let us remind ourselves that how we love self is how we are to love others. Surely, we want to love others properly and abundantly. Let that love begin with yourself.
Second, we can give ourselves the gift of salvation. Yes, the Godhead has provided the means of salvation. God planned our eternal redemption. Jesus died on the cross of Calvary and shed His blood for our sins. The Holy Spirit revealed the gospel that both tells the story of redemption and provides us the conditions of salvation. However, we are also involved in the process. God does not force salvation upon us. He has given us the choice. It was this fact that allowed Peter to say to the Jews on Pentecost: “”Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40). Yes, we can save ourselves. We can obey the conditions of salvation set forth in God’s Word. Dear reader, there is no better gift than this that you can give to yourself. You are giving yourself a life here and in the world to come. This gift is lasting. It will last forever if you will remain faithful to God (Rev. 2:10).
Third, we can give ourselves the gift of spiritual growth. When a person obeys the gospel, he is born into the family of God (John 3:3-5). Initially, he is a babe in Christ (Heb. 5:13). At that point, the best thing a person can do is grow to maturity. Peter commanded his readers, saying: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere mild of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (I Pet. 2:2). Feeding upon God’s Word is essential for this growth. Growing in Christ means that we grow in commitment and strength. It means that we are better prepared to stand against Satan. It means that we are more fit for the Master’s use. It means that we can be teachers and leaders in the Lord’s kingdom. As full-grown, mature Christians, we are able to experience the blessings of our Lord much more fully.
Fourth, we can give ourselves the blessing of patience. There are three areas wherein we need to apply patience to our lives. One of these is in our growth. Many times, we want to grow quickly. We want to have knowledge. We want to have experience. However, these will only come with a lot of diligence over a long period of time. Another area in which we need patience with ourselves is when we fail. From time to time, we will mess up. We try something new for us. We don’t do it just right. That’s okay. We are learning. Mistakes are wonderful teachers. A third area wherein we need patience is when we sin. Here, we are not condoning sin. We must rid it from our lives, but no Christian is perfect. For young Christians, sin may have an extremely tight grip upon them. Their battles with sin will be daily and very intense. Keep in mind: “You can conquer sin.” Even as older Christians, we will sin from time to time. Older Christians have committed some very serious transgressions through the years. Peter sinned even after extensive time with Jesus. We must be committed to our Christian lives. Then, we must be patient as we live that life. God is patient with us. Surely, we can be patient with ourselves. “”Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (James 5:8).
Fifth, we can give ourselves the gift of honest self-examination. Paul commands us to do this in II Corinthians 13:5. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates.” Examining ourselves is not fun. We often find flaws. We find imperfections. We see things that need serious attention. We see things that keep us from a proper relationship with God. My friend, these need to be corrected, even though it is difficult to see them in ourselves. To correct our faults after we see them takes admission or confession of our faults. Then, we must repent of those things. We must die to them. We must change by ridding our lives of those sins. We mentioned Peter earlier. He repented. Peter saw himself in an awful light after he denied the Lord. But, he changed. Having wept bitterly over his condition, God used him to do great things for the kingdom
Sixth, we can give ourselves the gift of prayer. Yes, we need to pray for ourselves regularly. We need to unleash the power of God and the resources of heaven for our benefit. The psalms are filled with prayers of David and others. Over and over these inspired men pray for things in their lives. Here is one example. “O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed” (Ps. 3:1-2). We may need God’s mercy, strength, wisdom, or forgiveness. It is perfectly acceptable to pray for yourself. When God answers, you will be overwhelmed with the gift that you have bestowed upon yourself.
It is a wonderful thing to truly understand that I can give myself gifts all year long. When others fail to give me something, I can give myself something. Another wonderful thing about the gifts we have spoken about is that they do not cost any money at all. Dear reader, if you like gifts, you have come to the right place. In Christ, there are riches untold that you can give yourself. Fill your life with gifts. As you do, you will find that you yourself will become a better giver, too.