Has anyone ever given your child an awesome gift… but then when you looked at the box you saw, “Batteries not included…” or even worse… “Assembly required”?!?
The kids are super excited about their new gift that is not quite ready to be used. Mom and dad need to put it together, but those eyes lock onto yours, and confidently, your adorable child asks you to put it together.
You love your child, so you pull out the tools to assemble or run to the junk drawer and check for batteries. If there are no batteries, you make a quick run to the store, come home, stick the batteries in the toy, and watch your child’s eyes beam with excitement.
Luckily for me, I’m mom. I get to stick the batteries in the toy… my husband… he gets to do the assembling. But the point is, we love our kids, and we want them to enjoy the gifts they have received. So, we put in the work that we were not necessarily excepting to do, so they can.
Have you ever thought of faith as a gift?
Our pastor told me he likes to describe salvation as the free gift under the Christmas tree. It is just sitting there waiting for you to open and receive it. However, you have to accept it and open it. Jesus died on the cross for you and me. The gift is there, but if you do not accept this free, loving gift of salvation, it is just a pretty package under the tree. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wage of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (emphasis added).”
But just like that gift your child received in which you must assemble first, the content inside doesn’t quite match the outside picture.
Accepting Christ was the easy part. Accept that free gift. Assembling… learning to walk with Christ is where the work comes in. It’s easy to look at seasoned Christians walking in peace and joy and desiring that walk. But what you don’t know is that walk has taken years of spiritual and emotional battles. Years of conviction, change, obedience, and trust. Victories and failures. However, through it all God is faithful. He has completed a good work in you, and He will carry it out to completion (Philippians 1:6).
For those of you who know me today, you would be shocked to hear what my life looked like ten years ago. I lived a life for me. I only cared about my own happiness. I was a horrible wife and picked fights any time I did not see things going my way. I was a mom who busied herself with anything I could to look good. But slowly the Holy Spirit started changing me. One conviction at a time- turn off the TV, open your Bible, change what you fill your heart and mind with, reverse psychology is lying/manipulation, you are addicted to drama keep your conversations positive, build other people up, serving your family is serving the Lord, trust in the Lord, His timing is perfect timing. The list goes on. However, before the Holy Spirit could start that work in me, I had to surrender and open the free gift of Jesus Christ. I had to let Him be the King of my heart!
When my kids receive those gifts, they immediately come to me or their dad and ask for help. Sadly, I do not so freely go to my Father in Heaven and ask for help. Nine times out of ten, I try to fix it myself. Then when I fail, I go to the Lord for help. I wish lived out Psalm 121:2, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
Parenting has been a huge blessing to me, because as I parent my own children, I get a glimpse at the love God has for me. I love my kids and want them to enjoy their gift, God also wants us to enjoy, embrace, and live with the gifts He has given us.
If my children ask me for help, I will strive to help them. Now, sometimes I cannot help them. Sometimes, especially in schoolwork, I have to let them figure things out on their own. But I don’t abandon them. I support them. I love them. I am there for them to give them peace and comfort.
God, thank you for giving us the free gift of You Son, Jesus. Help us to embrace this gift, grow in faith, and share the Good News with those around us. We love you!
In Jesus name I pray, Amen!