Monday, November 19, 2012
In fact, I am hugely dissappointed if the person who eats the baked good doesn't like it. There have been a few times when I put a lot of effort into making something, and certain family members gag and run to the fridge for a drink. That is pretty depressing. But what would be even more depressing is if the person I gave it to refused to even try it. It wouldn't matter if they took a high-resolution picture and framed it in the white house as the best culinary masterpiece: I would want them to EAT it! (although I wouldn't mind it being a framed picture in the white house.) If I ever give you brownies or bread, the best way you can show me appreciation is to eat it. That is the fulfillment of the purpose of food.
You are probably wondering where I am going with this, but hang on. Every Thanksgiving, before dinner, I usually try to go through some things I am thankful for... a specific friend, a home that's warm, family, etc. These things vary from year to year, but there is one I always say thank-you for: Jesus' death on the cross as payement for my sins. But as I was thinking about it, I'm wondering if I am only saying thank you for a gift I haven't fully unwrapped.
You see, Jesus' death was not just to keep us out of hell... it was to SET US FREE!!! Sin held us in bondage, but Christ has given us the key to unlock these chains so we can be liberated from the grip our sins have on us and walk hand-in-hand with Christ. But just like the baked goods I give to friends, using this incredible gift is optional.
We can say thank you over and over to this key to our chains. We can tell other people about the gift God has given us. We can feel in our hearts deep gratitude for Jesus' sacrifice: The ULTIMATE sacrifice. But so often I leave that key on the shelf, collecting dust. I forget that using this gift is a choice. So often I slip into old patterns of thinking and focusing on the wrong things. And then I get discouraged, because I don't think God's gift to me is working. I don't feel free! Maybe I'm not, I think. Maybe something is wrong with me. Maybe Jesus' death didn't really set me free. I keep trying to stop sinning, but I can't!
But as I think about it, I realize that maybe I'm wrestling with the chains, trying to get them off, but not using the key. I try and try in my own power to claw them off of me, but am helpless. I can't do it with out help. The truth is, I cannot be free unless I not only thank God for His gift, but use it. Jesus is in me. That means His power is in me to. But if I refuse to rely on His power, I say "not right now" to his gift, and put it off till later. While His key to freedom won't rust or wear out- it has eternal value- why shouldn't we use it now? In order to live in light of the eternity we have before us, we need His power NOW!
My point is, we can say "thank you" for God's gift of freedom from sin. We can exalt it as the "ultimate gift." But in the some-what stressful holiday season, are we using His gift to help us walk with Him, or have we left it for a more convenient time? Have we laid aside are old selves and sinful patterns, or are we clinging to them? Are you going to use His gift, or aren't you? I think the best way to show gratitude to our loving Savior is to USE THAT KEY!