Jesus Christ is risen – hallelujah! We join our voices to the triumphant cry resounding through Christendom around the world. For us, Easter is not just a season on a calendar, but a daily walk rejoicing in the risen Christ alive in our hearts.
In a newspaper article this week, John Sergeant, a T.V. and radio journalist, was commenting on the beauty of a particular landscape. He described the beautiful view as the “gift that keeps on giving”. Our spirit leaps at the phrase as the Holy Spirit impresses on us that Jesus is, indeed, the “Gift that keeps on giving.”
Our Heavenly Father gave His most treasured possession, Jesus Christ, to redeem a fallen world. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Here we have it, God’s greatest Gift. The Gift that keeps on giving, when I move towards Him. Jesus beckons, Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest….learn of me….and you shall find rest for your souls.” All of mankind seeks rest for his soul because we are made in the image of God for His good pleasure. So many seek to fill the void in themselves with the pleasures of this world, not realising that they are searching in all the wrong places and filling up with temporal gain that will eventually wax old and vanish. Only Jesus can satisfy the hunger in a searching heart, place His rest there and seal it for eternity.
The journey to our eternal destiny begins when we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour. It is the journey of a lifetime as I discover the joy of God. Jesus comforts me in my sorrows and teaches me to learn from my mistakes and failures. When I listen to His guidance and trust Him with the unknown, He gifts me with His peace. When I endeavour to do things my way, instead of God’s, confusion and havoc result. As I humble before Him, my mistakes become learning curves and He restores my soul. Why do I continue to do things my way when Jesus said, “…learn of me.”? The answer is : my pride. Pride is blind, thinks it knows best. Pride is the glory of man and, as such, is the enemy of God and His glory. 1 Peter 5:5 “…be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” When I am acting out of an unruly heart, in word or deed, I experience the loss of God’s peace. It is an indication that God is resisting me. The Holy Spirit is grieved by my actions and thoughts because I have usurped Christ from the throne of my heart and established self-rule once again. It can only end in disaster. As I learn to recognise the signs and quickly repent, God in His mercy, will restore my soul once more. Tony Robbins said “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” Change is only painful when I resist the Lord. I can choose change in humility and Jesus will change my heart. By resisting the Lord I may suffer a different change by humiliation. Dear God, may I choose the easy way by humbling to His word! When I embrace the truth of my failure I find His grace once more. When I run out of grace, I must run into truth. Grace and truth are married: John 1:17 “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” So, in my hour of failure I must ask the Lord what is the truth He wants me to embrace, in order to turn the tap of grace on again in my life. There is liberty at the end of this learning curve.
Do I take credit for the grace of God on my life and present it to others to glorify me? This is evidence again of a proud heart. God will not give His glory to another and will resist me again in this. How we all love to have our flesh patted. May the Lord give us an abhorrence of such as it grieves His heart. The glory of man is the enemy of the glory of God. A life lived to God’s glory can only be lived in His presence. This is a place, not only of joy, peace and rest, but also a place of safety. This is our divine destiny and birthright. Jesus demonstrated how to live there: only speaking the words His Father gave Him, only doing the things that pleased Him. I am not here to put others right, I am here to get right – to walk, talk and live worthy of Him. May I repent of “..every idle word” (Matthew 12:36), till they no longer be part of my identity. I am a new creation in Christ now, and as such, they no longer belong to me. I have a new identity and standing in Christ alone. The words that Jesus spoke were spirit and life. This is part of our birthright in Him.
Let us be encouragers in the household of faith, as we remember our beloved Saviour and Lord, ever moving towards Him: The Gift that keeps on giving from the heart of God.