Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:9–11
The holiday season is here, and many of us will give and receive presents of various sorts to celebrate Christmas. Some of those presents will be warmly received while others may be returned to the store (or at least that may be our wish).
Thankfully, my son is still of the age where he is excited about most presents that he is given. Observing his interest in trains, cars, Mickey Mouse, and other toys spark an almost endless array of gift ideas for my wife and I to surprise him with. It is such a joy to see his eyes light up and watch him play with his newfound treasures. Witnessing and being part of that dynamic has reminded me about God’s enthusiasm in giving gifts to us.
Matthew tells us that our Heavenly Father is just waiting for us to ask for gifts (Matthew 7:9-11). James declares a similar truth in stating that God is the giver of good and perfect gifts (James 1:17). So with such a simple formula, why does it seem that I often (and perhaps some of you can relate) do not receive what I ask for from the Lord? James answers that question when he reminds us that we also need to ask with correct motives and not out of selfish desires (James 4:3). While there are times I find it challenging and uncomfortable to honestly apply that test, James’ words serve as a helpful check and balance on the state of my heart.
What is on your wish list this year? Let us spend some time this Christmas season to:
- Thank God for Jesus’ sacrificial death on the Cross so that we may have eternal life; and,
- Conduct an assessment of what we are asking of God and the motivation behind those requests.