We went to Cape Cod for vacation this year. While we were there my wife bought me a gift. It was a nice souvenir coffee mug. She knows I like coffee mugs. I have quite a collection of them and most of them have a story behind them. When she gave me the mug, I didn’t try to pay her for it. I didn’t ask her what I had to do to earn it or what I did to deserve it. I simply thanked her for it and the next day I made coffee and used it. She got me a gift just because she loves me and was thinking about me.
Everybody loves to get gifts at Christmas or on your birthday or anniversary. The thing about gifts is that you don’t earn them. They are freely given. You say thanks and use it.
I was a very religious person until I was 14 years old. I knew many facts about God, but I had no personal relationship with Him. God seemed distant and far off. The church taught me that I needed to be good in order to get to heaven. I was 21 years old before I learned that salvation is a gift. There are three important gifts that the Bible mentions.
God loves you so much that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. The most important decision you can make is to surrender your life to Jesus. When you do that you receive the free gift of salvation.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
It is the gift of God. It’s not something that you can work for. It is not something that can be earned. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian. Just like being in a coop doesn’t make you a chicken. I went to church for years but I wasn’t a Christian until the day I repented and received God’s unspeakable gift.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
The Holy Spirit
You also receive another gift when Jesus saves you, Peter called it the gift of the Holy Spirit.
And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38
When Jesus walked on the earth He could only be in one physical place at a time. But when He ascended to heaven He sent the Holy Spirit to live within every believer. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you are never alone because God’s Holy Spirit resides within you.
Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. Romans 8:9
This is how you have assurance of salvation and know you belong to the family of God.
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:16-17
When the Holy Spirit of Christ lives within you, He also gives you a gift. We all have natural talents, gifts and abilities. But when you become a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit gives you a spiritual gift.
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:7
Preaching, teaching, leadership, serving, compassion, giving, faith, encouragement, mercy, helps. These spiritual gifts are given by God to build up the body of Christ, to reach unity in the faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to become spiritually mature, and able to discern truth from error. Since the gifts of God are irrevocable, that means you never use them up, no matter your age.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10
So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them. Romans 12:5-6
Suppose you bought a gift for a friend, simply because you love them and want to bless them. You wrapped it up and gave it to them and they thanked you and put it on the shelf. Every time you went to your friend’s house you noticed that the gift you gave them is still sitting there on the shelf, looking pretty but still unopened. How would you feel?
Most likely you would be disappointed and feel your gift was unappreciated. You want them to experience the excitement of receiving it and enjoy the pleasure of using it.
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ you gave been gifted. You have been given the free gift of God, eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. You have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit, so that you are never alone. He assures you that you are a child of God. He convicts you when you sin. He empowers you, enlightens you and encourages you. And the Holy Spirit has given you at least one spiritual gift. God wants you to use it throughout your lifetime as long as you are physically able.