How do you treat your precious gift?

C8JG__EDIT_WHITFIELD_Bible_open_pages2 Peter 1:5-8

Because you have these blessings, do your best to add these things to your lives: to your faith, add goodness; and to your goodness, add knowledge; and to your knowledge, add self-control; and to your self-control, add patience; and to your patience, add service for God; and to your service for God, add kindness for your brothers and sisters in Christ; and to this kindness, add love. If all these things are in you and are growing, they will help you to be useful and productive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

One evening, I mentioned to my son that I wanted him to go into his closet and see if a certain shirt was hanging in his closet. I noticed that it was taking him longer than expected, so I got up and went into the room and as I came in, he said, “Daddy, look what I found”. It was a toy that he had received during Christmas and it was still in the box. What I noticed was that he had opened it during the time of Christmas but had not even played with the toy since that time.

I stood there and wondered how God feels about the free gift of salvation we accepted, when we do nothing with it?
How does God feel when we accept the gift, then after the newness wears off, we let it gather dust?
And then I wondered more deeply, how does he feel when He sees the gift we accepted from Him, the gift that He bought for us with His life, the gift that He was faithful to go to the Cross so we can have it, gather “dust?”
The gift of salvation and eternal life is free. Salvation changes the direction our life is headed and discipleship is what changes our character and us. It is simply following Christ, living a Christ-like life. It’s when our words and our deeds match up perfectly. I am saying that we need to be more than just “hitchhikers” to heaven. We need to live out our lives as fully-devoted followers of Christ.
From our textual reading, Peter gives us the secret to Godly living. Most folks want to be successful but are not willing to take all of the steps that it will take to be successful. Peter writes well in this passage, he says a whole lot in this passage, but there is a little word that no one should miss and that little word is the word “add”.
An old guy once told me that if you keep subtracting, you will eventually end up with a whole lot of nothing but if you keep adding, you will eventually end up with a whole lot of something and when you add God and Godly traits to your agenda, you’ll end up with something spectacular and so amazing.
Peter is saying, because you have this great gift, do your best to apply the gift to your life. The word add here means to supply generously. What it means is that “these things” are to be practiced as a whole and every one is to be active all the time.
You see, some people want to pat themselves on the back if they are doing four-out-of-five or five-out-of-seven. God wants us to have all of these qualities operating at all times.

1 John 1:5-7
Here is the message we have heard from Christ and now announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. So if we say we have fellowship with God, but we continue living in darkness, we are liars and do not follow the truth. But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. Then the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from every sin.
John is very plain in his words. If we continue in our old ways, if we don’t do something with the free gift, then we are liars.
I don’t know about you all, but these passages sure motivate me to dust off my gift and try to be a little more Christ-like each day. It’s the least we can do to show our gratitude for what He has done for us.
Is it time you opened your gift from God?

Rev. Darrick Whitfield is pastor of Shady Grove M.B. Church in McCondy and a regular contributor to the Chickasaw Journal.

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