Let’s set the stage.
It’s your birthday. Decorations are up, you’re dressed nice, and the smile on your face is the brightest adornment of all. Your family and friends have gathered to celebrate. There’s plenty of cake, balloons, and laughter to go around. On the table are a number of present, and they all have your name written on them.
Those presents belong to you. All those beautifully wrapped gifts sitting on the table are 100% yours. Yes, someone else purchased them, but that’s what makes it a gift! The item inside is no less yours than if you had made the trip to Target yourself. But really, it’s even better than if you had bought the item yourself, because along with the gift itself comes the most beautiful feeling of knowing that you are loved.
But in order to fully receive, to fully take advantage of those gifts, you have to unwrap them. They are already yours, but it is up to you to decide whether or not you want to open them up and make use of them. You can only truly enjoy the gift if you choose receive it in its entirety. Of course, no one would turn away gifts on their birthday! We all enjoy the bliss of opening the gifts and receiving all the love that comes with them.
A relationship with God is a lot like our birthday. When we choose to receive Jesus as our Savior, God makes a litany of beautiful gifts available to us – His grace, joy, peace, power, wisdom. They are 100% ours, purchased by the blood of Jesus. He paid the price so we could receive all the wonderful gifts He has for us. When we accept Jesus, all of the beauty that comes with being in God’s presence, with being God’s children, becomes available to us. All we have to do is choose to take hold and receive those gifts.
For some reason, though, we are a bit more hesitant to receive God’s gifts than we are to receive a birthday present. In both cases, we have done nothing to deserve the gifts being offered to us, yet we tend to shy away from taking full advantage of God’s beautiful gifts like we would a birthday gift.
In order to fully receive what God has for us, we have to lay other things down. You can’t grab one thing if there is already something in your hand. In order to take hold of the gifts God has made available to us through His Son, we have to let go of the things that are holding us back from receiving.
We can really just lay it all down.
Lay down the fear, lay down the insecurities, lay down the sickness, lay down the depression, lay down the anxiety, lay down the lust, lay down the burdens you’re carrying, lay down your shame, lay down your anger, lay down your sadness, your broken heart, lay down your unforgiveness and take hold of everything that God has for you instead.
No burden is too big or too small for God to take care of for you. Bring it all to His feet, let go of those things that are weighing you down and take hold of His gifts of love, joy, peace, grace, forgiveness, strength everlasting. Not just for today but for every day. These gifts are already yours in Jesus! It is your inheritance as a child of the most high God to live in freedom every single day!
It is sometimes easier said than done to let go of the darkness to receive the light. Sometimes things seem to have such a hold on us that it feels impossible for us to take hold of something greater. We can feel caught in a cycle of negativity. Or perhaps we feel bridled with shame, unworthy of the gifts God is offering us. There can be a sense of false humility (a disguised form of pride) that keeps us from accepting what God has for us. We simply don’t like the idea that we have not earned the gracious gifts God has made available to us.
It’s time to shake that too.
I recently had a revelation. I was struggling and struggling with myself over and over in a cycle of perfectionism and condemnation that I knew wasn’t from God. I tried and tried to break the cycle, but every time I would fall back into perfectionism and self-condemnation, I would condemn myself for being a perfectionist! I was exacerbating my own problems. I couldn’t get free in my own strength. Then God spoke to my heart in the gentle way He does, and He said to me, “Let it go.”
He was not angry with me; He was kind as He always is. God revealed to my heart that He has never asked me to be perfect. Instead, He offers me His grace. He presented to me what is already mine through Jesus. So I have decided to let go of my perfectionism and take hold of His love and His grace. I have decided to let go of my need to earn God’s goodness and receive what He has already given to me.
Most of us have something, that thing that holds us back, that fear or insecurity or anxiety or unforgiveness we can’t seem to shake. It’s time to let it go. As soon as we decide to release our grip on those things, God’s beautiful gifts can begin to work in our lives. We can get so caught up in trying to control our struggles that we forget that surrender is the safest and strongest place to be. When we surrender it over to God, He takes care of every burden and showers us with all His gifts just like the loving Father He is.
He wants us to live a life of freedom, joy, and peace in His presence. There are deeper and deeper levels of His love and grace to be explored. There’s no need to wrestle with ourselves, no need to struggle any more with the things that burden us. We can release our grip, let it go, and take hold of the gifts God has for us instead. It’s time to unwrap those heavenly gifts!