Pretend with me. You are a child. It’s Christmas. The tree is up and decorated. Glow and sparkle fill the room with Christmas magic. Being a curious child, you have already checked out the landscape of presents under the tree. You noted the gifts with your name on them. And – you’ve counted them. Now you wait . . . and wonder . . . and hope! But the pretending stops and you are an adult again. You ask yourself – “are there gifts for me as a grown-up? Is there something special under God’s Great Tree with my name on it?”
Gifts Under God’s Great Tree
You do have presents with your name on them under the tree of life. God is the giver, and He really knows how to give good gifts. Jas. 1: 17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows.” You can be sure His gifts are wonderful to receive – just what you always wanted – although sometimes it might not seem like it.
You already received God’s gift of grace when you trusted Jesus for salvation and forgiveness of sin. The thing about God is this: He is “so vastly wonderful, so utterly and completely delightful that He can, without anything other than Himself, meet and overflow the deepest demands of our total nature, mysterious and deep as that nature is.”2 (a quote from A.W. Tozer) It’s true. God’s gift is an on-going thing for the rest of your life. God is your best present ever! And that’s just the beginning. There’s more under God’s Great Tree. Aren’t you a bit curious? What’s under there for you? Custom-designed grace gifts have your name.
God showers His children with grace gifts continually. Every day, you could list a page of blessings present all around you – even co-existing alongside difficulties. God never leaves you without His blessings. Additionally, His grace gifts include special contributions only you can make in this world. Your contribution lets you engage your skill sets and passions. This is an incredible gift that authenticates you.
Your special grace gifts help build up others. You know – that word of encouragement, a note of comfort, a practical provision for a physical need, a creative and thoughtful expression from your heart. You can share God’s “Christmas gifts” all through the year with others. Why not participate in handing out God’s gifts from under His Great Tree – like people hand out gifts at Christmas. However, unlike Christmas, what is under God’s Great Tree doesn’t end December 25. His tree is loaded with gifts for you and for all His people every day of the year.
Receiving His gifts involves engaging faith, obeying what He teaches you, and actively growing each day in knowledge about Jesus. There’s lots of room for growth, and there’s lots of gifts under the tree for every month of the year. Eph. 4:13 says you can know Jesus and gain “the whole measure of the fullness of Jesus.” That’s breath-taking, my friend! Just think about it. You can know God in the fullness of Christ. The more you know Him, the more His grace gifts become yours. Further, the more mature and seasoned you become. The more familiar you are with God’s Great Tree.
Mature believers in Jesus use grace gifts to manage all kinds of circumstances in life, even very difficult ones. They push aside cunning, crafty, deceitful packages that look like gifts. Relationships become more precious to them as they speak lovingly and truthfully to fellow believers and family members. In all dealings, they seek to be more like Jesus, asking Him to transform them as they partner with Him. Plus, they simply want more of Christ. Their grace gifts from under God’s Great Tree literally help them live well – through good times and the worst of times.
Explore What’s Under God’s Great Tree
Why not explore what’s under the tree to see what God has for you? As you get down on your hands and knees to investigate what’s under God’s Great Tree, you become:
- a willing servant – because the Christmas Baby has captured your heart, and
- a truly free person – because the grown-up Christmas Baby gives you freedom – forever.
You can live with peace and joy in your heart. You can also help others find grace gifts with their name under God’s Great Tree.
Scripture says Jesus took many captives and gave gifts to His people.” (Eph. 4:8) Very interesting expression! When people see Jesus for who He is, they can’t help but respond to His incredible nature. So, they draw closer, offering themselves willingly to Christ. That’s where you find yourself. Jesus said it best. “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for Me, you will save it.” (Mt. 10:39, TLB) Another translation says you will find it.
Ps. 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.” People who get to know Jesus find themselves wanting more of Him. His grace gifts whet your appetite for more.
Application Questions and Thoughts
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Pet. 4:10)
- Have you been poking around under God’s Great Tree to see what gifts have your name?
- Have you identified God’s grace gifts specifically for you?
- What gifts have you been given to serve Jesus? Be specific as you identify them. Are you engaging them?
- What can you do today to exercise your gifts for God’s glory?
It’s never too late to get down on all fours and explore what’s under God’s Great Tree. Look for your name. When you see a new gift, open it! Then develop action steps to help you use your gift to help others. Live in the joy (yes, the child-like magic) of what you find under God’s Great Tree!
And have a Merry Christmas!
Article developed from Ephesians 4:7-16
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