A Gift You Can Trust


So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.  Romans 8:12

         Gifts are funny things.  The giving of them can be altruistic; the giver loves me and I feel loved by receiving the gift.  But another kind of person can give a gift that is self-serving.  By accepting it, I feel the pressure to repay.  Feeling indebted to someone I do not trust is a heavy burden.

Early in my twenties, I responded to overtures of friendship with a person who turned out to be extremely manipulative.  She lived fifteen hours away from me so our visits were sparse.  However, every time I arrived at her home, or she arrived at mine, she kept bringing out gift after gift.  I was so uncomfortable with the number of them and the obvious expense of them.  She couldn’t really afford them.

I will tell you that they didn’t feel good to me.  One day, I tried to explain my discomfort to her yet again.  I told her that I was struggling; that I felt such a burden of indebtedness that her gifts were no longer bringing me joy.  She listened and her face showed no emotion.  I finally asked, “Do you understand that I feel so indebted that it’s really bothering me a lot?  I mean, how long would it ever take me to pay you back?”  Before she had time to think about her answer, this is what came out of her mouth like a shot.  “Forever!” she said, with a casual shrug of her shoulders.

That day was a turning point in our relationship.  I came to understand that her gift-giving was to make sure that my sense of indebtedness kept me in her life.

Can being a debtor be a good thing?  I have found that the answer to that question is yes.  It depends on the giver!

Justification and sanctification are related to each other.  Jesus has given me a staggering gift, one that I can never repay.  He has erased my sin that condemned me and declared me righteous by His death.  He justified me!

My response?  I am a debtor.  It’s safe to feel that way because His love is pure.  There are no hidden agendas.  He wants me to be His and wants to share His home with me forever.  Because of my gratitude, I say ‘thank you’ by presenting myself to him for a sanctifying process.  It will require daily sacrifice as I give up what I ‘think’ I want with what He tells me is best for me.  But my sacrifice is nothing compared to what it took for Him to offer me my salvation.

Jesus, I give myself to you today with no reservations or restrictions.

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