The Greatest Gift
Reading Selection for December 15th
I Kings 18:21 (NLT) – “Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, ‘How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!’ But the people were completely silent.”
In the verse above, given the choice of following the Living God and following a dead god, the people have no response. They stand silent before the choices. And in their silence they make a choice. When we choose not to choose the Living God, we choose the imitation. When I choose not to choose the Living God, I choose the imitation. In silence I choose a less than life, I choose death.
When I choose silence I reject Love Himself, I reject full acceptance, I reject the gift of Life. I say no to the One who said yes for me.
On page 150 in today’s reading selection Ann writes, “Jesus, the Gift, comes to give you freely through His passion what every other god forces you to get through your performance…Kneel here and behold only Him—the only place where you can receive the gift of acceptance, so the gods of acceptance have no hold on you.”
That day in I Samuel 18 God wasn’t asking His people to perform, He was simply asking them to believe. To live like He was True, the One True God. And He’s still asking the same question, “What do you believe?”
Do I believe that Jesus is the Gift? Do I receive His gift of acceptance and live free from performance? When I hear the echoes of Him coming for my heart do I choose to simply be the beloved of God, or do I feel compelled to perform for Him, to prove my value and worth?
Do I receive the Christ Who came for me as the Gift or do I treat Him as a debtor that needs to be repaid?
One of Ann’s questions under “A Moment for Reflection” on page 152 reads, “What emotions are evoked in you when you realize that God doesn’t expect you to perform for Him—that He has already given you everything?”
My honest response to that question is that I am so overwhelmed with gratitude that I struggle to find words. Right this very minute I am weeping over all the years I misunderstood the Gospel and jumped through hoop after hoop after hoop because I thought that’s what God expected of me. I am weeping over all the ways I silently chose the gods of acceptance when I was already fully accepted by Love Himself. Weeping over all the years I chose performance over worship.
But I am also weeping over how the Living God resurrects the dead and works all things together for my good, even a life time of performance. I am celebrating that the Gospel really is Too Good To Be True, except that it is TRUE!
Today, in this moment of Advent, of His coming for you (and me) right this second, can you fully receive the Gift and simply respond in worship? In this moment of decision, can you break the silence and choose the Living God?
How will you respond to Him?