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Are you gifted?

He who loves with purity considers not the gift of the lover, but the love of the giver. 
(Thomas a Kempis)

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. (Colossians 3:12)

Maybe you hadn't really stopped to think about it for a while, but God's gift to you is his love. We think often about what we need God to do for us - extend grace, bring healing, keep us from harm, open doors that are closed - the list goes on and one. How frequently do we stop to consider the 'giver' of the gifts? All God gives is for our best - all God gave was his best. That bespeaks love with a depth none of us really fully understands or experiences in this lifetime. What God desires of us in return is that we live this new life completely adorned with the good character he provides so graciously to each of us. While it may not be easily worn, it is will never bind us, nor will it be ill-fitting.

Love provided the wardrobe - pure love that loves without strings attached. In fact, his love gave and gives without cost to us. To wear the garment of his love means we will make different choices, think in ways we never considered before, and move as he directs our path. Life will not the same after embracing Christ for his love demands a change of heart - mind, will, and emotions made new, focused intently on grace. Not just the grace we receive, but the grace we can repeatedly give. All throughout the sacred scriptures we see this thought of forgiveness - receiving grace where it is least deserved. Why is it spoken of so frequently? 

Perhaps it is because God wants us to know the giver as well and as frequently as we experience the gift. What does love look like when it is in action? There will be compassion, kindness where least deserved, humble appreciation of each other's talents, a willingness to not always be noticed, and a strength that is not a result of one's own self-will. I wonder if you see a description of the character of the giver in this description? Love gives and never looks back. Where Christ dwells, love abides. Where love abides, grace is given. Where grace is given, freedom abounds. No other garment will fit us as well as his garment of grace. Grace is the result of love - forgiveness gives what isn't sought and definitely not deserved.

We find it easy to focus on the gifts, but hard to focus on the one who gives such gifts. We'd do well today to take time to remember the giver of each of these gifts. The more we focus on the giver, the greater these gifts will become evident in our lives. Just sayin!

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