The God Who Gives and Keeps On Giving
The truth of God's generosity to his children is constantly under attack from the world, the flesh and the devil. As we pursue the gifts of the Spirit, it's therefore helpful to be reminded that, "God is good and everything he does is good" (Psalm 119:68). Unspoiled creation was constantly described as good. God's image bearers (human beings) were described as very good. Jesus constantly did good to all and from him we received "grace upon grace" (1 John 1:16). In fact, God giving us his Son is the ultimate generosity that can be shown; everything else is small by comparison (Romans 8:32). This grace is undeserved, freely lavished on us.
When we receive the Spirit and his gifts, the most important thing we can understand is that God gives to us because he loves to give, not because we are deserving. In the parable of the prodigal son, two sons are compared. One son squandered everything and felt that limited him to working for his Dad as a slave. The second son never left home but felt his Dad owed him something because he'd worked hard. Both failed to grasp the loving generosity of a father who wanted to treat them as sons and give to them out of his own generosity. All of us tend to limit God's grace in our life through a failure to understand his heart of generosity towards us in Jesus.
Jesus said that, compared to a Good God, human fathers are relatively evil (Luke 11), but even human fathers, when presented with an opportunity to respond to a request for fish and chips from their kids, generally love to give what the child wants! How much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask!
Battling the world the flesh and the devil. Do you find it hard to see God as good? What things challenge this truth and how can we resist?
Prodigal son. Which son do you most think like? (The one who doesn't feel good enough to receive grace, or the one who feels his hard work will produce God's blessing?)
Lavish Grace. What would it look like if God poured out his Spirit on us more than we currently experience?
What gifts from God do you feel you have received? Which ones are you asking him for?
Self-centred prayer? Sometimes we're reluctant to pray for ourselves. How does Jesus challenge this in Luke 11?