"the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever." Psalm 37:29
If you're thinking you've read this line before you have not lost your mind. We've already discussed it in Psalm 37:9 and Psalm 37:18 and I'd encourage you to go back and check those out because today my "inspiration tank" is running low. Anyway, though I feel a little "flat", I do think the Spirit is teaching me something new (or reminding me something old is more like it) even though we've discussed today's topic twice already. For whatever reason, today's verse struck a different cord in me about how I ACCEPT the gift of Jesus and the inheritance that comes along with being a child of God.
I don't know about you but I have a really hard time receiving gifts. I don't like to open them in front of people, and most of the time I almost find it easier to just keep giving as opposed to getting. I think the biggest reason that I have a hard time receiving gifts is due to the old cliche, "nothing in life is free". Personally, it seems that every time I receive a gift my initial thoughts and feelings are not ones of gratitude but are actually plans about how I'm going to out give the giver (after that is figured out in about 10 seconds the giver gets the big thank you followed by a hug, kiss or both depending on how close we are).
It's not that I don't like when people get me something, it's more about how I just have this insatiable urge to prove to them how grateful I am by getting the giver something in return. The idea of a free gift in this world doesn't make sense and in the grand scheme of things, there always seems to be a "catch" to whatever is given. Today, as I think about the gift of Heaven, and this unbelievable inheritance I receive because of the grace of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; My mind spins in circles about how I'm going to prove to Him just how thankful I am. This spinning mind typically has me hurrying around so fast trying to please God, that I fail to just relax in an attitude of gratitude for His gifts of love, mercy and my eternal inheritance. The more i consider His gift I'm coming to realize that my version of a return gift needs only to be in my attitude of trust in Him and not in the way that I prove to Him in my own power just how grateful I am.
As I sit writing I'm realizing that more often than not I'm rarely surrendered to His will. Instead I typically enforce mine in His name as I continually feel like I owe Him. It's tough to admit this but instead of accepting his inheritance and being a vessel of His Holy Spirit; I spend more time figuring out what the "Christian" thing to do is and fail to be available to let God's Spirit work through me. Because of this habit of being unable to trust Him and acting like I don't believe that His gift of salvation is free, I sprint through life trying to prove to Him and other "believers" that I'm worthy of His inheritance even though it's already been promised.
The reason that abandoning the self is discussed so much on this blog is that in our own selfishness and pride, we are constantly getting in the way of God's Spirit. We too often rush blindly into doing what we think is the "right" instead of being patiently directed by God's Spirit where we should go. As you all are aware by now, God is rarely on time but never late in the way He works with His children. Even though we are constantly told that we should be "doing this" or "doing that" in order to grow in our faith with Him and prove to Him why we deserve His gifts we need to recognize the difference between a cultural habit and what is actually God's word. Your need to remember that your inheritance is safe if you are willing to surrender your life to Christ. You don't have to sign up every week to help at a church on Sunday or have a business card that says you work for a ministry to actually have a ministry that is led by God's Spirit. If you allow the Spirit to work a "ministry" through you, you will actually get out of the way of trying in your own power to repay your inheritance, and at the same time let the light of God shine through you in ways you may not know until you receive your eternal gift.
Today, as you read this, I hope that you will set some time aside and be honest with yourself. Are you trying so hard to be like Jesus that you are missing out on letting God's Spirit transform you into Him? Do you believe that God's blessings will only come if you read scripture at a certain time or pray "x" number of times daily. Clearly the disciplines of the Christian faith are imperative but not because we have to do them in order to earn our gift or be considered righteous. We do them because the Spirit in us leads us into what is right and if we could just get ourselves out of the way we may actually begin to look a lot more like Jesus at the same time. The more we become like Christ, the more we take on the eternal perspective that the inheritance we receive is something we could never obtain on our own.