The Art Of Receiving
Have you ever tried to give somebody something only to have them resist by repeatedly exclaiming, “Oh no..no I couldn’t possibly take that…” ? I mean we all do this from time to time be it common courtesy or shyness or simply what we think we should do, but I’m talking about someone really making a point to reject what you were offering?
I’ve had several attempts to give to others without strings attached resisted in a few different ways. The most common is this one; I give something to someone and very quickly after they have something for me…I begin to think to myself well that’s nice but I hope it wasn’t because you felt like you had to give me something just because I gave you something.
After all, I gave it to you.
I wasn’t attempting to reward you for something you had earned. I wasn’t trying to pay you a wage – it was a gift.
Why did you feel you had to work for it?
Do we think this doesn’t translate spiritually? Recently I was alerted to a resistance I had to receiving something from the Lord in my own personal life. After dealing with a stubborn physical ailment for quite some time I started feeling particularly defeated at one point. To me I had been “doing everything right”. I was faithfully claiming and standing in faith on powerful scriptures; I was confessing them over my life and spending time in prayer and bible reading; to my knowledge I was not in any un-confessed sin, and had confessed any sin I knew of; I was attending church; faithfully serving the Lord in church; I was doing my best to love others and serve them. With my condition unyielding I finally broke away from my routine of works and, frustrated, I asked God, “Why isn’t this working?” “What is going on?” In that moment this revelation came through my mind in the form of a question,
“God, have I been trying to heal myself?”
As I meditated on that question it became increasingly clear that I had been using the confession of His word merely as a method for healing rather than a connection point to His healing power through relationship with Him. As hidden as it was, my flesh had not yet entrusted itself to the care of the Lord and in that sense I was indeed “trying to heal myself”.
Trying to heal myself......really?
What followed was a series of lessons in what it meant to receive from the Lord. Although I believe strongly in the faith filled confession of the scriptures over my life, in this case the confessing of His powerful word had become a vain repetition from my mouth in which I trusted in the words themselves rather than the One who spoke them. God led me to stop mindlessly confessing these scriptures and simply start thanking Him for the healing. My heart resisted as I still felt I needed to do more to get something like this from the Lord. Simply thanking Him and resting in His word with one confession replacing all the others – God I trust You and thank-you for healing me in Jesus name – didn’t seem like enough! Receiving by faith is truly a restful state. He also prodded me to have others pray for me and both of these solutions to my problem revealed a hidden underlying “block” to my ability to receive from Him – Pride.
What is this pride that lurks within us? I like the Amplified bible’s description in 1 John 2:16c “the pride of life” is the “assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things”. It is the false sense within us that we are in control and do not really need anything or anyone else's help. Pride gives us the illusion of self-sufficiency. It does not like to receive something it feels it had no part in earning and this is why,
Pride always rejects a present.
The bible highlights in this passage the fact that we all deal with this pride within us. Salvation is described as a very humbling act in Ps.149:4 “He will beautify the humble with salvation.” In salvation we receive by faith what God offers through His Son’s finished work on the cross. We receive it and we take it as our own an offering we know we could not have earned ourselves that being restoration back to the Father and forgiveness of our sins. All of us who are born again children of God did that just fine with our initial salvation. Now the task is learning to apply that same principle to many of the promises and truths of God’s word. There are so many good things the Lord wants to give us and yet if we will not deal with our pride we may miss out on receiving them. If we can not truly admit deep in our hearts our need for Him and align ourselves with the instruction in His word for us to allow Him to be our healer, our provider, our everything, we will surely receive less then He intended for us to have. This doesn’t mean we sit back and do nothing there is a time for us to work as we stand on the Word and do what we know to do but then there is a time for us to rest. It is learning to recognize which response is needed that is the hard part.
Most of the truly great things of God will be offered to us as presents, presents which we must learn how to receive. As my condition steadily improves under the power of His wisdom and strength, I can almost hear Him saying,
“This healing is something I gave to you. I wasn’t attempting to reward you for something you had earned.
I wasn’t trying to pay you a wage – it was a gift.
Why did you feel you had to work for it?”
The truth that, “by His stripes we are healed” (IS.53:5 1PET.2:24) rings ever truer in my heart now not as a mindless confession but a deep heart revelation. I am now more dependent on Him and by doing so, stronger than I’ve ever been.
We must yield our pride and become children who know how to rest in the hand of our loving Father who will faithfully see us through everything. In this, we will be able to receive from Him every “good and perfect gift” (James 1:17) He offers to us from above.