Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Your Salvation is a gift from God. The Lord Jesus gave Himself on the cross in order for the gift of Salvation to be extended to you. One must remember that it is a gift. So often we beat ourselves up about our doubt and disbelief, or our lack of faith. I think it is rightfully so that we check our position when these thoughts and mindsets begin to infiltrate our relationship with Jesus Christ. However, we must never forget that we were dead in our trespasses, many are still dead in their trespasses, they have not received the gift of Salvation. They have not surrendered their hearts to the grace that He has paved for them. Your ability to open your heart to the truth of Jesus Christ and His Lordship is a gift. Jesus Himself is the giver. He has extended a gift to you and you must receive the gift. And you must continue to receive the gift as you grow spiritual and gain knowledge and wisdom about Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God. Receiving a gift is sometimes difficult. You know at Christmas when someone gets you a gift and you didn't get them one, you freak out and feel like you have just signed a second mortgage. You start looking around at what you have and can quickly wrap in the bathroom. Maybe you tear the name off of a package and give them someone else's gift. This sometimes becomes even more awkward when you really think about it, and that gift was way to personal and/or expensive for this type of gift exchange. When you can't work out this split second "gift for gift" magic, we walk away with terms of a loan that we have to somehow repay. To some receiving a gift is one the most difficult things in life because every gift must be repaid. Consequently, they don't want to receive anything from anybody because they don't want to owe anybody. Sometimes people simply will not receive gifts from others. You know what I am talking about, you try to pay for your friends meal and they refuse. Then there is a 5 minute exchange about how you are going to pay for the meal and you are not taking no for an answer. They are mad cause you are paying for their meal and you are mad cause they don't want to let you. Now when you think about it, that is crazy. Many times this light hearted quarrel turns into a loan. We leave with the mindset, well they paid for my meal this time, I am going to pay for their meal next time. The next couple of weeks you badger your friend about going to lunch so you can repay your debt. A gift that was never intended to be a debt. RECEIVE THE GIFT, and allow blessings to flow. This was hard for me in the beginning of ministry because I had for a long time been on the side of the fence where I could afford to pay for others and wanted to, it made me happy to be able to help someone. No, it didn't matter to me if they had plenty of money, it made me happy to pay for the meals, so i did it. I have found after being on the receiving end of these types of gifts that the Lord is many times working in these situations. It is where blessing flow. The same is true with the gifts of the Lord, many times we tell Jesus I will not receive your gift. You have been saved by grace through faith. You see it is the gift of God that you have been saved and His avenue of delivery is faith. Ephesians 2:8 also says and 'that not of yourselves,' it is a gift. Grace through faith is not of ourselves, it is a gift. You need the gift. When you have doubt, remember your faith is a gift, receive the gift. Ultimately, faith is a choice to choose your way of thinking or His way of thinking. Multiple choice tests are designed to bring you to a point of decision. Many times the options are similar, and you have to make a decision, you have to choose one or the other. Many times they are polar opposites, either way you have to choose. You can't mark both, your answer will absolutely be wrong if you do that. So you choose that one answer is better than the other. Now many would say that is just guessing, but it really is not. If it is done correctly, the answers you choose are based on certain information you know to be true. You see when taking a multiple choice test, many times there are answers that are clearly not right and we remove them from the options, then we look at the narrowed field and begin to go through the information we have in our minds. We begin a journey to the best answer, eliminating choices along the way. Walking in an intimate relationship with Jesus brings you to many faithful moments. During this journey you are in the middle of spiritual warfare, where you are being influenced by all sorts of distractions and evil. Your doubts cannot be ignored, your disbelief cannot be ignored, you must hit them head on. Ultimately, it will bring you to a place where you have to choose, and at that place, when your heart pushes you to a place of faith, but your mind pushes you to a different place, realize your faith is the avenue in which the Lord Jesus delivers your grace and your salvation. Therefore, receive the gift, choose faith. Following salvation the Word of God says in 2 Corinthians 3:18, that we will be transformed from glory to glory, one faithful moment to the next faithful moment. Receive the gift today and allow the glory of Jesus Christ to transform you more and more into His image and His way.