The Perfect Gift
James 1:17: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the heavenly lights who does not change like the shifting shadows.
Philippians 2:13: for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Have you ever given a gift to someone or done what you perceive as a good work, and then found out later that it missed the mark? For years I would go around looking to give a gift or to do something for someone that either was not what they truly desired, or it wasn't necessary. I would get so angry at the insulting nature of the person who I set out to help. They would ultimately be disappointed and it would cause a strain on our relationship. I would always point the blame squarely on them and not on myself, for certainly my benevolence was taken for granted!
What the Lord shared with me is that when we give a gift out of our own thoughts, or do a good deed where the payoff leads to us looking good, then it will almost certainly miss the mark.
Isaiah talks about our righteous deeds as filthy rags. He says: All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds have become like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away (Isaiah 64:6). What he is talking about is that we cannot do enough good deeds to atone for our sins. We can get into a mindset that if we could just do a couple of good deeds, then we will make up for the guilt of doing something bad. We are looking to do something that looks great, but ultimately is self-gratifying. Those deeds become like filthy rags. They are soiled with the prospect of being righteous.
I want to be clear. I am not advocating avoiding doing good things for others, but it is the relationship that we need to focus on. When we give a gift or do something for someone else and miss the mark, the relationship suffers because it comes into question the true knowledge of the other person. In other words, if you truly knew me, you would have given me a rose, and not a clock radio.
The same with our relationship with the heart of God. When we spend time with the Lord, He will lead us to the work, or deed He wants us to do. He will lead us to the perfect gift.
He knew that we could not measure up with the weight of the Law. The Law is pure and good. It was a gift to all of us to reach the heart of God, but we could not fulfill it. The Law was not a mistake or an oversight by the Lord, it was set in place so that we can truly feel the love that was displayed through Jesus Christ, who is the only one to fulfill the Law. Jesus is our perfect gift from God, and when we receive Jesus in our hearts, our deeds are not necessary to be righteous before the Father. We honor the gift of Jesus Christ by communing with the Father and listening to what He desires us to do through His Spirit.
When we listen to His promptings, His good and perfect gift is reflected through us by Him and not our flesh. I have blessed more people on accident then I ever have on purpose. I will give you an example. I was in line at a grocery store, and as I was waiting for my turn, I noticed the cashier was sniffling and wiping her nose. I thought, great, she's sick and touching food, yikes. Many people went through her line, and as I got to the time to check out, I heard the Lord prompt me to ask her how she was. She was not sick, but she was crying and trying to hide it. I asked her if she was ok, and she told me that she had recently lost her husband and that she saw someone who didn’t know that he had passed and it hit her hard. I heard the Lord ask me to pray with her, and so I asked sheepishly if she could take a break to compose herself, but she couldn't for at least an hour or so. I said, lets pray, and so we stood around the belt and cash register and I asked the Lord to give her rest and a break to feel His peace about her husband. We prayed for strength. Once we finished and she gave me the receipt, her manager came over to her and asked her if she could take her break early so she ( the manager) could count her drawer and reset the computer module. She looked at me and smiled, and I said, Praise God!
You see, I did not set out to do a good deed or give her anything but my credit card for my groceries, but when we rest in Jesus, He does everything through us. Give Jesus the Praise, He is our perfect gift, and our truth. Give the gift of Jesus by resting in His love, so much so, that it blesses others without you even knowing it. Amen?