Grin and Give Your Gifts to Jesus
Each of us has one or two things that we have an appetite for, and IF we choose to satisfy those things we WILL quench the Spirit in us. These snares in our lives are some of the only opportunities we have to offer gifts to Jesus. These are not negative things; they are opportunities!
Let’s face it. We all deal with temptation. And one of the things satan loves to do with temptation is to shove it in our face. Let’s say you’re tempted with bitterness, or lust, or greed, or laziness. Then you think, “Ah, I’m a lazy, greedy, lustful, wicked person.” What you don’t realize is that those snares that are left in your life are some of the only opportunities you have to give gifts to Jesus. Those are not negative things! You don’t have to view those temptations as negative things anymore. Now if you decide to just “go for it” and run into a temptation—that’s negative. No doubt about it.
But what if instead, when you are tempted to be lazy or resentful or lustful, you look right at Jesus’ face and say, “Jesus, I want to offer this to You. I could gratify my flesh right now and continue to dwell on this thought or take this action or spend this money or do this thing… but I want this to be to YOU, a very tangible gift. This money I was about to spend on myself, this little trip I was going to take just to fill up my eyes with the lust of this world at a shopping center, this stupid thing I want to do to gratify my flesh, or to fill up my flesh with some vice, or this desire to look in the mirror at myself or whatever… I want to offer this to You as a very tangible gift.” So rather than say, “Oh, I always do this. Here I go again, tempted to resent!”, take that moment in time and look at it for what it is. It is one of those snares that God allowed to be left in your field that gives you an opportunity to give a gift to Jesus.
I’ve had a grin come on my face so many times. If anyone has looked at me in some particular setting—say a cross country meet at a local high school or wherever—where someone makes a comment or some imposition, and I’m tempted to be resentful; or I have some “frustration” at 4 a.m. when I’m trying to do a job on the computer and the computer’s memory zaps out and I have to redo tons of work… when I handle it properly I actually literally DO grin at those moments. When I look at this thing and say, “Oh, I know what this is. This is an opportunity to offer Jesus a gift.” The temptations that might just happen to come along your way, they are opportunities to grin.
In very tangible, concrete terms you can turn your face towards Jesus, and tell Him, “This money that I’m not spending on myself, I’m giving to You.” That’s different than saying, “Well, I shouldn’t really do that. I ought to do this instead.” That’s not sustainable. That’s willpower. You can’t do that. You’ll be back. You’ll buy that thing or you’ll give in to that temptation. If it’s not a gift that you are giving to Jesus, your eyes will go back, your mind will go back, your wallet will go back—you’ll be back because willpower cannot sustain you in things like this.
But if you will, in a CONCRETE fashion, take this temptation to be resentful, and each time say, “Hey, here’s another chance! This is the third chance in 60 seconds. : ) It’s another gift I can offer to You, Jesus. We are racking ‘em up here! Satan, you’re killing yourself!”
Resist the devil and he’ll flee from you. Why? Because he doesn’t like Jesus to get gifts. He isn’t going to torment someone who just keeps giving Jesus gifts. Resist him and he’ll flee from you. It’s really okay. We are not threatened by anything, not even our own weaknesses, not our own sins, and not our own failures. We are not threatened by anything. They are gifts that we offer to Messiah.
Be careful how you hear. What are you going to do the next time that temptation says, “Bang! You’re a terrible person.” “Bang! You’re never going to make it.” “Bang! You’re a resentful person. You’re worthless. You’re not going to be able to do anything for anyone else because you’re so worthless.” What are you going to do? Are you going to give your gift to Jesus?
Is what we are talking about—if, in fact, it’s not the words of men but the Words of God—your choice? If in fact this is the Word of God, then are you going to change? The next time this temptation to have a pity party comes your way, will you do something different than what you did last time—by choice? Will you choose to offer gifts to Jesus? Will you stretch out your hand to the weary instead of looking in the mirror and wondering who is going to come speak some word to you? What are you going to do? Will you make choices that reflect a change of heart, a renewing of your mind? We are transformed by the renewing of our minds. Will you make choices that MATCH the Truth of God? Will you be careful how you hear these things? Or will you say, “That’s a nice thought,” and then go right back to the way you’ve handled your pain and temptations and failures in the past? Please don’t.
There’s a window of opportunity and there’s a moment of grace for us to walk through and to be changed… permanently changed. You can be a different person, and even have someone tell you, “You are not the same person I knew a few months ago.” Wonderful things can happen if you will make choices that reflect a commitment to Truth from Heaven rather than the feelings from earth and the patterns of this world. Make a change, make the choices.