Who doesn’t like to get gifts? I have occasionally been the person who has had a hard time receiving gifts, but that’s not to say I don’t like getting them. What I mean is, we often feel undeserving. But it’s fun to open presents, no matter who (or what age) we are.
And this is what makes Ephesians 4:7-8 so exciting! “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.'”
GET YOUR MEASURING STICK
Now, suppose you didn’t know what your gift was, but you knew where it came from. This might be a determining factor in your excitement, right? For example, your reaction might be slightly different if you knew your gift was from Macy’s Department Store versus the local Convenience Store. Am I right?
In the same way, the Bible says your gift was given according to Christ’s gift. Without knowing anything else, I can tell you it wasn’t cheap! I mean, how can you measure “Christ’s gift”? And that’s supposed to be the measuring stick for our gift?
FREEDOM! (in my best Braveheart accent)
So, I don’t know about you, but I would take freedom as my gift any day! And in essence, this is what the Bible is explaining when it says Jesus led captivity captive. In other words, the thing (or things) that held you in bondage were literally put in bondage themselves and carried away.
How can you measure that? How did a slave in the Civil War measure the years and generations ahead of him or her when they were set free? In the same way, you and I were given a bonus gift (of freedom) before we ever received anything else.
HE WAS THINKING OF YOU
But that’s not all. I looked up the word gifts in the Complete Word Study Dictionary and this is what it said: A gift; lending greater emphasis to the character of the gift than to its beneficent nature.
Wow. The word character stands out to me. In other words, it’s not so much what was given but the nature in which it was given.
And then if we meditate a little further on this, we begin to see that Jesus gave us of His character. And isn’t this what brought us into the family of God in the first place? This thinking led me to look up the original verse in the Old Testament because this particular passage is a quote. We can find it in Psalm 68:18.
“You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts for me, even for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them.”
“…even for the rebellious…”
There’s your gift. Even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, Christ died for us. Even when we were ugly and awful in character, Jesus laid His life down for us that we might be filled with His nature. “…that the Lord God might dwell among them.” In other words, God looked upon you and said, “I can do something in them. If they’ll open their heart, I can put my Spirit in them and make them great!”
Wow. And double wow. I hope you are as amazed as this reality really is. Because this means there’s more. There isn’t a measuring stick on earth to measure the fullness of Christ in you. Therefore, there isn’t a measuring stick to limit what you can do either.
Stay amazed (and grateful) today!