As He Receives

We are accustom to associating “Christ-likeness” with sacrifice. Christ is the Great Giver. The One who put the needs of many above His own. The One who laid down His life, so that we all might live.

We have a tendency to elevate people who demonstrate such sacrificial lives and so we bestow upon them the title “Christ-like”. I wonder, are we so generous in our elevation of  the self-sacrificing because we regard asking for a service as a lack of humility? Or receiving a gift as selfish? I confess, I find it quite difficult to relate to or even maintain authentic relationship with one who gives and refuses to receive.

As we strive to follow Christ, we must look at all of Christ. Consider this: God asks. God receives.

God, who offered the greatest sacrifice, or Jesus, who was the greatest sacrifice — however you want to look at it — does more than give and bless. He also asks. He asks for and wonderfully receives our love, our gifts, and our service. Our gifts are not a means of earning, but being. Love, gifts, and service are the sweet fruit generated from being in His presence. It is relationship! He desires for us to engage in a beautiful relationship of giving and receiving. This is relationship’s heart, after all. It is reciprocity; albeit, not equality. Our love, gifts, and service will never match that which God so generously pours upon us. However, He still requires the gift of our hearts. Christ-likeness is giving and receiving.

Christ surely welcomes our meager sacrifices/gifts as if they were great works of art. He does not turn them away. He received from humanity when He walked the earth (money, food, service, assistance to carry the cross, etc) and He receives from us in heaven. In fact, I would suggest that He is eager to receive from us! I’m hesitant to say that God demands our love as that sounds too autocratic. Yet, we were made to love Him. Perhaps it is better to say that He patiently waits for us to love Him/serve Him as freely as He loves us. Can you imagine how He must rejoice when we give to Him from a heart of love?? How He must look upon us and say, “My child, thank you.”

Embrace this perspective! When you worship, whether it be through the Word or in music or in any other discipline, God looks upon you and says, “Thank you for loving me. It is your greatest gift to Me. I receive it – no strings attached.” Sometimes, He may even ask, “will you receive My Love for you?

As we strive to emulate Christ, let us not deny others from loving us, especially the Living God. Let us, instead, follow in His example of giving and receiving. Your greatest gift to someone may not be what you do, but what you receive. When you look upon those gifts from the heart, rather than turn them away at pride’s request, simply say, “thank you. I receive it.” Give as He gives; receive as He receives.


As I continue in this journey toward greater intimacy with the Divine Presence, the Spirit of God reveals a transforming fire for which I am both hopeful and fearful. I tremble. My spirit longs to love God with more than this finite flesh is capable; a love, a union that transcends the natural world and embraces the supernatural. How I thirst!

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psalm 63: 1)

Though I seek His Presence all the day long, there are times, some great, some small, when I cease to look up. I take my gaze away from the only One that matters. I take His Presence for granted. You see, I know that when I look back, He will still be there. Grace. Jesus walked in daily communion with His Father. He knew God as we can never know Him (and how I desperately long to know Him). How precious must His Presence have been to the Son! How great the sacrifice when Jesus took on the sins of humanity, became an object of abhorrence to His Father, and found He was no longer in communion with God. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” The utter cry of His soul must have been devastating to the Father. It is devastating to me now. I can neither imagine such loss, nor even consider bearing it. Yet in this triumphant moment of the Son, the veil was torn and all who desired could enter the Presence of God. Jesus experienced the absence of God so that I might never experience such grave loss.

Bernard of Clarivaux writes:

To shame our sins He blushed in blood;

He closed eyes to show us God;

Let all the world fall down and know

That none but God such love can show.

I greatly desire to grow in the knowledge and love of God. To continually be in His Presence and rely on Him for all things. Brother Lawrence says the “greater perfection a soul aspires after, the more dependent it is upon Divine grace.” As my soul professes love for the Living God, I profess also my dependence.


Thank You for Your Presence that I strive always to practice. I seek You each day anew. Forgive me for taking Your Precious Presence for granted, for turning away to things that matter so little. May the work of the Cross be ever before me. Remind me, O Spirit that lives within, of the gift of Your Sacrifice. Be my Divine habit! Let all my thoughts begin and end with You. Teach me how to love You in the Kingdom Among Us so that I might love you all the  more in the Kingdom that is coming.