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Filled gaps

Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that. (I Corinthians 1:7-9)

Wouldn't it be nice to "not need a thing"? To be so "set" in life, nothing we could buy or be given is really needed any longer. If you were to ask a child what they "needed", their list of "needs" would perhaps include the latest super-hero characters, a new building set, or an electric scooter/moped - they might include books, clothes of the latest fashions, or more. If you ask an adult, their "needs" would be a little loftier - like a new set of tires for the car, the full collection of new pots and pans for the kitchen, or the shiny new appliance down at the local retailer. We probably have been asked what we want, only to answer back, "I have everything I need. I don't need anything else." It is likely true - we have a lot of stuff! But "stuff" doesn't fill the most important gap in our lives!

You and I don't need a thing - because we've received all we need in the person of Christ. We've got it all! What we often fail to recognize is just how much we have been given in Christ. Some of us only look at Christ as "fire insurance" - a means to avoid hell in the hereafter, but not really having much 'use' for him in the here and now. Others of us see Christ as a nice person - filling us with good feelings on occasion. Still others see Christ as a means to an end - thinking being "in Christ" entitles us to some sort of place of privilege. The issue with each of these "views" is their lack of connection with the work of Christ in our lives. Jesus is indeed our "means" to avoid hell, but we miss out on so much more if all we do is buy a piece of property and never see it developed! 

We might experience some "warm fuzzies" once in a while because we have Christ in our lives - maybe because we experience peace for the first time, or come to a new understanding of his peace settling our fearful hearts in the midst of a place where we definitely needed his protection. To merely focus on the "warm feelings" knowing him produces never helps us to focus on living "above" our feelings. Seeing Jesus as our "sugar-daddy" (the one who we go to whenever we have a need and then expect it to be met just like that) makes us guilty of treating God as our servant - something totally backward to God's plan of us being his servants. All God's gifts are right in front of us. This is the focus, not just that we avoid hell, get warm feelings, or have God at our service. God desires for us see the thing right in front of our eyes which we have such a hard time focusing on correctly. We possess all the "gifts" we will ever need - we just have to become familiar with how they operate in our lives. God is right there alongside each of us - getting us started and seeing us become proficient in their use!

God gets us started - he also sees us through to the end. In many cases, we give God access to "get things started" in our lives, but I wonder how many times we don't leave things alone long enough to let him see it through to the end? We have the "warm fuzzy" experience - but then after life begins to kick up around us again, we don't remember the "warm fuzzy" as much as we "feel" the presence of the present issue. The work God began is still being "worked" - we are just not keenly aware of it if we are just focusing on the "feeling" of the moment. Chances are, the present issue is just another means to bring out something within us where God is focusing his attention. There are two actions of God on our behalf "after" he gives us the gifts: keeping us steady and on track. In giving us the gifts, he knows we need to know how to use them. I have some "toys" (the electronic type) which I have purchased over the years. I learn some of the basic stuff - like how to turn them on, get them to play the songs I want to hear, and the like. Yet, I never really use them to their full potential. I possess a smart phone and Alexa devices - both probably smarter than the user! I don't take the time to find out much about the "other stuff" they can do because I am comfortable with what they already do for me!

I wonder how many times we approach God's gifts this way - not really concerned with how much more they could be developed in us simply because we are content with what we have already experienced. If I only used my smart phone to make and receive calls, I really did not need a smart phone! If I use it to alert me to my next appointments, keep my grocery list in, and be a tickler of upcoming birthdays, I am getting the hang of using it, but still way below its potential. If I actually begin to explore the apps, I may begin to surf the web, purchase a meal on the way home which will be waiting for me as I arrive at the local restaurant pick-up window, and even regulate my home air conditioning for me while away. I am coming closer to using this device as its "designer" intended. Same with Alexa - controlling lights whenever I need them on or off, starting the coffee pot, or changing the channel on the TV at the sound of my voice. God gives us gifts which will only reveal their full potential in our lives when we really nuzzle up to him and learn how to apply them in our lives! Just as with my smart devices, we have to "use the apps and skills" he gives us! The "gaps" in our lives are best "filled" with the gifts of God. Just sayin!

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