The Lord is Willing, but Are You? - Pt 3
The Lord is willing….Are You?
An examination of what it means to be the Bride of Christ in light of Genesis 24
In part one of this series of devotionals, I wrote about being willing to set aside our own plans, thoughts, feelings, and agendas and to serve God with a willing attitude. In the second devotion, I wrote about trusting the Word of God and obeying the Word even when we cannot see the outcome or when we don’t know how things are going to turn out. If you have not read those first two articles, take about 10 minutes, and go back to read them first. You are sure to be blessed and challenged to grow in your spirit!
In this final installment of the series, I want to talk about how we can actively serve the Lord by receiving the gifts he has for us. In our source text of Genesis 24, there are two verses where Abraham’s servant gives gifts to Rebekah. In verse 22, he gives her gifts when she responds to his request for water by giving him and his camels water from the well. Her response showed her willingness to serve and it answered the servant’s prayer for God’s direction in the matter of finding a bride for Isaac. Later in the narrative (verse 53), the servant gives Rebekah more gifts as she prepares to leave home and family behind and follow him to her new home and waiting groom.
I can see in these events a wonderful parallel to our spiritual journey as servants of God. The “servant” (the Holy Spirit) comes and allows us to respond. Instead of giving water from the well, the Holy Spirit is offering us a chance to become followers of Christ. When we respond to the Holy Spirit, we have the opportunity to receive gifts from God through the Spirit! What gifts? Well, to name a few, there are:
1. Salvation (John 3:16; John 4:10; Romans 6:23)
2. Baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5; 2:4; 1 Corinthians 12:13)
3. Ministry Gifts – 5 fold ministry gifts (Ephesians 4:11)
4. Power Gifts – 1 Corinthians 12 – healing, miracles, wisdom, etc.
5. Abundant life (John 10:10)
There are many other gifts that are available as we walk in obedience to the will of God for our lives. Such spiritual gifts as peace, joy, patience, and faith are given by the Holy Spirit and are developed in our lives as we receive them – by faith – and then live our lives, to the best of our ability and with the help of God, in obedience to God’s will for us.
As I have pastored people for over 20 years, I have discovered that many people who have trusted God for salvation are not living the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10. Unlike Rebekah in Genesis 24, they have been unwilling to receive the gifts of the Spirit of God. These gifts are not required for salvation – that is by grace through faith in Jesus as the Son of God – but they are gifts that the Father has provided to us to make our lives more enjoyable, more productive, and full of purpose and direction. When Christians are unwilling to receive the gifts of the Spirit, it is usually because:
1. They are afraid
2. They feel unworthy
3. They are complacent, comfortable, and have no desire for more of God.
If you are afraid, there is no need to be. There is no need to fear the perfect love of God. He will never do anything to hurt you! Everything He does is to promote your well-being and your spiritual growth.
If you feel unworthy – join the crowd! We all feel unworthy of the gifts and calling of God. But the fact is, your faith in Jesus as your savior has made you worthy to receive the spiritual gifts that God has for you! No matter your past (because your past has been washed away by your faith in Christ), you are qualified to receive the BEST from God.
If you are complacent, comfortable, and see no need to change….well, you are the hard case! You see, unless you desire more, God won’t force more on you. But understand this: Jesus had very harsh words to say to Christians who were complacent and comfortable in their spiritual journey! He called them spiritually poor and spiritually blind (Luke 4:18; Revelation 3:17). Jesus said that complacent, comfortable Christians make him want to vomit (Revelation 3:16). If you notice that you have no desire for spiritual things in your life, let that be a warning bell! You need to pray! Honestly ask God what he wants of you. Ask him if your life is pleasing to him. Ask him to help you re-discover the passion you felt as a new Christian. One thing I know – God wants to give you gifts if you are willing!
For more information, or to discuss these thoughts further, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org