Jesus is winding down His great and marvelous discourse, His call to the impossible standard only He Himself can attain. And amid His culmination of the Sermon on the Mount, perhaps there were disheartened listeners in the crowd; contemplating their complete inability to measure up to all they had heard. Perhaps, His teaching left you feeling a bit the same way, disheartened and hopeless of ever measuring up to His message.
And it is at this point Jesus turns our attention to the answer: the relationship that endows and empowers both our desire and ability to pursue this call, our Heavenly Father and His Good Gifts. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (7:11).
Consider His Good Gifts
The Gift of Humility. “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you,” (7:1-2).
The Gift of Repentance. “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye,” (7:5).
The Gift of Confidence in Prayer. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened,” (7:7-8).
The Gift of Unconditional Love. “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets,” (7:12).
The Gift of Salvation. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it,” (7:13-14).
The Gift of Discernment. “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces… 15 Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits,” (7:6, 15-16).
The Gift of His Word. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock,” (7:24).
The Gift of Wisdom. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock,” (7:24).
The Gift of His Sure Foundation. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock,” (7:25).
The Gift of His Authority. “When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; 29 for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes,” (7:26).
How do we respond to His Good Gifts?
His Good Gifts provide all we need to adhere to His Perfect Principles. We can trust Him because He is our Father. Think about the ramifications of this; the Creator, Sovereign Lord of all the universe, is our Father! He has all authority over every created and living thing, and He has chosen to be in relationship with us! The Father’s gifts are good because He is our Father; it is because of our relationship with Him that He imparts His Good Gifts.
My children are grown now, but when they were younger they often asked for gifts less than good. Their daddy and I had the same response for such times, “What is your last name?” They understood; because they bore our name, certain behaviors were acceptable and encouraged; others simply were not. Their relationship, as our children, was to define their activities and pursuits.
As a former high school teacher, I cannot even begin to count the number of students I met with to counsel, advise or discipline. However, in addressing a student, never once in attempting to encourage them to think about their choices, did I ask their last name. It would not have applied; for although I loved them, they weren’t mine. I could not call them into account with our last name; theirs was different.
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are,” (1 John 3:1).
Does your heart soar with assurance that you are indeed His child and that you have been given His Good Gifts? If you are not sure, you can be. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him,” (John 3:16-17).
Acknowledge your need of salvation and believe in Jesus as the only way, “the narrow gate” (7:13). It is an absolute lie that there are many ways to the Father. There is only One. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,'” (John 14:6).
“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,” (Romans 8:16). If you still feel uncertain, please email the Planting Place at: firstname.lastname@example.org. It is so vitally important that we have the certainty that we are His children; the assurance of our relationship with Him will define our activities and pursuits.
Let us pursue that which honors and praises Him and live as His children, assured He is our Father and thankful He gives His Good Gifts! “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow,” (James 1:17).
“So David blessed the Lord in the sight of all the assembly; and David said, “Blessed are You, O Lord God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. 12 Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. 13 Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name,” (1 Chronicles 29:10-13).