Scripture is full of promises that speak of precious gifts God is willing to give us:
- Unstoppable love (Romans 8:38-39)
- Overflowing hope (Romans 15:13)
- Wise guidance (Psalm 32:8)
- Courageous confidence (Psalm 56:3-4)
- Compassionate comfort (Psalm 34:18)
- Peaceful rest (Matthew 11:28-29)
And that’s not a complete list by any means. The question is: Are we willing to receive all these blessings?
Or, are our minds full of:
“God may love me in a general sense, but personally? I doubt it. After disappointing him so many times, I don’t deserve his gifts.”
“Look at all these challenges in my life. I’m not seeing very many blessings.”
“That promise can’t be for me, can it?”
These kinds of thoughts originate with Satan, the father of lies, who’s delighted when we don’t embrace God’s blessings.
For most of us, accepting gifts—even from God–can be more difficult than giving them. Gracious receiving is an art.
So how do we develop the art of receiving?
- Reject those lies of the devil.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can take such thoughts captive and cast them out of our minds (2 Corinthians 10:5). The next step is to…
- Fill our minds with uplifting thinking.
“Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
Such glorious categories on which to focus! And undoubtedly our hearts will fill with gratitude as we contemplate God’s magnificent gifts.
Any art form—music, writing, painting, etc.—requires practice. So does the art of receiving. God has not chosen to instantaneously transform our attitudes for us. He almost always takes a gradual approach, providing numerous opportunities for practice.
The art of receiving is no different, developing over time through faith and self-discipline. We affirm that God loves and blesses his children—despite our feelings–and discipline our minds to counter doubt, negativity, and fear with trust-statements from his Word.
- Spend time in God’s Word.
The more time we spend reading the Bible, the more scripture-gems we discover that speak of God’s gracious character, his promises, and blessings. And the more we learn, the more we respond, “Thank you, Father, for all the blessings of the abundant, God-enhanced life with you!”
- Receive graciously, even enthusiastically, from others.
Too often, we’re uncomfortable at the receiving end. We feel embarrassed or unworthy and worry about repaying the favor.
We need to remind ourselves: gracious, enthusiastic receiving is in itself a gift of:
Affirmation. Every gift bestowed with good intention is meaningful—whether it’s a compliment, a favor, or an object. Granted, we may feel awkward when complimented, we may not need the favor or desire the object, but the thoughtfulness can be affirmed just the same.
Pleasure. God has engineered us so that when the receiver expresses pleasure, the giver also experiences pleasure—usually more so.
Gratitude. Thoughtful gratitude shows honor and esteem for the giver.
So let’s grit our teeth and be gracious receivers!
No, gritting won’t be necessary if we remember: All gifts originate in the heart of our Heavenly Father (James 1:17). He is the One bestowing the blessings, frequently using people as his agents.
Our highest privilege is to bestow pleasure and honor upon God, by passing the praise and gratitude on to him
In doing so, the art of receiving comes full circle.
(Photo credit: www.familyconnect.org.)