Words by Colonel Jostein Nielsen.
I have met many Christians who say:
“I am ready for whatever God will give me”.
When I think about how I received salvation, it was possible because I knew that God had already done his part. I delayed my response, but when I finally was ready, it was an active response: I surrendered to what he had done and accepted his gift of salvation. The gift had to be unwrapped. It can in many ways been likened to the gifts under the Christmas tree. I know that there will be a gift for me there. However, even if it has my label on, it is wasted if I do not pick it up, unwrap it and start to use it.
To eagerly desire the spiritual gifts as Paul encourages us to do (1), requires active involvement from my part. I need to ‘unwrap’ what God has already given. God made salvation available through what Jesus did on the cross and he made the Holy Spirit and his gifts available when he on the day of Pentecost fulfilled the promise:
In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Since I am included in “all people”, I know that I am also included in the outpouring of the Spirit.
I believe that it was so important for Peter to make sure that everyone should feel included, that he continued to quote more from the prophecy from Joel. It confirms that this has nothing to do with gender, age or social status (2). You are included. The gift has your label if you include yourself in humanity.
The first step of the unwrapping of the gift of the Spirit is to believe and accept that the gift is already given to you. For some believers an acceptance of this truth can give an immediate spiritual confirmation, for others it is the beginning of journey with the Spirit which brings confirmation as we move in Him and He in us. Even though the experience can be precious, the main purpose of the outpouring is the fruit it brings in transformed lives. I will write more about the unwrapping of the gifts next week.
‘Manna’ for today:
Every day I choose to walk in and with the Spirit
(1) 1 Cor 12:31
(2) Acts 2:17-18