When Your Best Isn’t Good Enough
I’m sure many of you can relate, but when I get an expensive gift from someone for my birthday or Christmas I feel like I owe the person who gave it. Now I feel like I must get that person a gift as expensive as the one they got me, or I’m indebted to that person somehow. Why is it when someone gives us a gift we now must get them one? Why can’t we just enjoy the gift and not feel obligated to give in return? There are many ways to answer that question, but I want to focus on one aspect of it. The person who gave the gift just showed through the gift that they cared about you and that you mean something to them. If we don’t do something for that person in return it can feel like we don’t care about them in the same way.
What I Used to Think About Jesus
I used to think of God as this big all powerful being that was far away and didn’t really care about my day to day life. That was before I really got to know Him. God in fact gave the entire world a gift so great that it can never be repaid. While all of humanity was still trapped in sin Jesus suffered and died for us. He is the answer for our sinful condition, and the only path to salvation. We destroyed our relationship with God when Adam and Eve decided to eat the forbidden fruit, but through Jesus’s death and resurrection he has restored our relationship with God. This famous verse describes it well, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world be saved through him. (John 3:16-17) God’s gift to us through Jesus not only grants forgiveness of our sins but gives eternal life to anyone who trusts in him.
What Jesus Actually Did
Most of us are probably familiar with Romans 5:8, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” I was reflecting on this verse and I realized something that enhances this verse even further for me. Everyone who lived at the time Paul was writing Romans were sinners when Jesus died. For us I think the verse can take another meaning, before any of us was ever a sinner, and before we were even born, Christ died for us. Think about that. Before any of us even existed, Jesus suffered and died for us. He made the way for our salvation long before any of us were even born much less could sin against God.
God gave us not just his best, he gave us everything. His love for us amazes me whenever I reflect on it. This quote from AW Tozer leaves me in awe of how great God’s love is for us. “An infinite God can give all of himself to each of his children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.” If it meant only saving you, Jesus would still have endured the cross. God loves all of us and not just partially but a full love in which He gives all of Himself to each of us.
What We Can Do
We can never repay God for the gift He has given us. Even if we give God our best for the rest of our lives it will never be equal to what Jesus has already done for us on the cross. We can’t match God gift for gift like we can relatives at Christmas. So what then is the point of giving God our best if we can’t repay him? The answer I think is that its not about repaying God. Giving God our best is our response to God for what he has done for us. How can any of us just live out our lives unchanged after knowing what Jesus has done for us? How can we respond to God’s great love by living an unchanged life? We give God our best out of overwhelming gratitude and love for the one who gave his very life to save us. How can we not gladly give all that we are to the God who gave his all for us before we were even born?
Are there any areas of your life where you are not giving God your best? Whatever those areas are in your life I pray that you surrender them to God. God didn’t hold back on how far He would go for each an everyone of us, I don’t know about you but response to His love and sacrifice I can’t give God any less than my best in every area of my life. He is Lord of my life and I refuse to live my life unchanged. Jesus gave his life for me so now I live my life for Him.