by: Dr. Bob Gray Sr.
Acts 10:34, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:”
There are certain graces that God commands for his people to have and God never commands us to do anything He does not give us the wherewithal to do.
Philippians 3:1, “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.”
Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”
These, and other passages, teach God’s people to rejoice. God commands us to rejoice; those are not suggestions for those are commands my friend. God commands you to rejoice and that means you can rejoice. Anyone can “will” to rejoice. Anyone can “decide” to rejoice.
If you are not happy, it is your fault! If you do not have joy and rejoice, it is simply because you chose not to have joy or rejoice. The fact that God commands you to joy means you could choose to have joy. You can will to do anything God commands you to do.
You can love God because God said in Deuteronomy 6:5; 10:12, and other passages, “Thou shalt love the LORD thy God.” This is a command from God. If this is a command from God, then you can will to love God. Anyone can decide to love God, and remember, God never commands us to do anything we cannot decide to do.
You can love your neighbor because Leviticus 19:18 says you are supposed to love your neighbor. The Scriptures say in several places, “Love thy neighbour as thyself.” Thus, you can love your neighbor.
“But preacher, so and so is just naturally a loving person!” No! Brother so and so chooses to use the love that he has! God has given that love and then commands for us to give it to others. The choice is up to us! Use it or lose it!
The Bible says for us to love our enemies. Luke 6:27 says so. We are commanded by God to love our enemies, and if He has commanded it we can do it.
If you do not love God, it is because you have decided not to love God. If you do not love your fellow man, it is because you have decided not to love your fellow man. If you do not love your enemies, it is because you have decided not to love your enemies. Use it or lose it!
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be ye kind one to another.” Apparently, we can be kind one to another. Why? Because God said so. God would never have commanded us to do so if it was beyond our ability to do so. If you are not kind it is because you have chosen not to be kind. Because one chooses to be kind, that causes him or her to be kind. With the command comes the ability to do it. If you decide to do it or not to do it all rests on your shoulders. Use it or lose it!
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, it tells us that in everything we are to give thanks. So, we can be thankful. God commanded it, and with that command comes the wherewithal to be thankful.
• God commands us to rejoice.
• God commands us to love our neighbor.
• God commands us to love our enemies.
• God commands us to be kind to one another.
• God commands us in everything to give thanks.
All of these commands can be done if we decide to do them. Use it or lose it! If you are not grateful for your parents, school, church, preacher, youth pastor, teachers, salvation or the clothes on your back, it is not because of a lack of personality; rather, a lack of deciding to do so. It is because you and you alone have chosen not to be grateful. If you are grateful, it is because you have chosen to be grateful. Use it or lose it!
Acts 16:31 tells us to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. That is a command to believe or place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for Heaven. Romans 12:3 tells us that God has given to every man a measure of faith. That means you have faith. Use it or lose it! If you use that faith it is because you choose to use that faith. God has commanded us to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation from Hell. “But preacher, I can’t believe.” Hush! God is not a liar! He would have never told man to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ if man could not believe. Use it or lost it!
If you have faith, it is because you have chosen to have faith. If you do not have faith, it is because you have chosen not to have faith.
God says in Colossians 3:12, “put on mercy” which means you can choose to be merciful. In Colossians 3:12, God says put on kindness and put on humility; thus, you can decide to have mercy, be kind or to be humble. 2 Chronicles 3:14 says humble yourself. God would never have commanded this if it were not possible. We can partake if we so choose.
Oh, someone says, that lady is so merciful by nature, or kind by nature, or humble by nature. That is simply not a true statement. If she is merciful it is because she chooses to be merciful, or kind, or humble. God will not tell anyone to do something that they cannot decide to do or partake. Anyone may choose to rejoice, love God, love your neighbor, love your enemies, be kind, be thankful, believe, have mercy or be humble.
Colossians 3:12 also says to put on meekness; thus, one may decide to be meek. God says to be longsuffering and patient, so one also can decide to be longsuffering and patient. All of us have been given the same degree of patience everyone else has or God would not have instructed us to put it on.
How about that temper? “Preacher, I by nature have a hot temper.” No, you by nature have a broken decision maker. Any child of God could decide not to have a hot temper by having a sweet spirit and by partaking of the Holy Spirit. God would not have told his children to do all these things that have been listed if we could not do it. The only thing left to do is to do it. Use it or lose it!
Husbands who fly off of the handle all the time, why don’t you choose to be longsuffering, patient and kind? Your poor wife never knows what kind of a disposition you will have from day to day. Decide to be meek, humble, kind, love God, love your neighbor, love your enemies, have joy, be thankful, believe God, be merciful and longsuffering.
In Hebrews 13:25, God tells His people to be content. If you are not a contented child of God it is because you have chosen not to be content. “Preacher, I’m tired of working two jobs just to keep the children in a Christian school.” Hello, selfish one! Your children did not ask to be born. You are the ones who brought them into this world and you are responsible. You could choose to be unselfish if you so desired. God’s people must quit blaming God because they have chosen not to be unselfish, not to be merciful, not to be kind, not to be grateful, not to love God, not to love their enemies, not to be content and not to have joy. It is really time for the child of God to quit blaming God for his or her choices or lack of partaking of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
God did not make sodomites, hateful people, ungrateful people, discontented people or selfish people. This is a matter of decisions made by mankind. God did not make you the way you are for you to decide to be the way you are today. You can choose to have a clean mind, be meek, humble, mild mannered, patient and have a sweet disposition. It is your choice to partake You decide!
Acts 10:34 tells us that God is not a respecter of persons. God did not give me more than He gave you. God did not give you more than he did me. Thus, we all started out with the same measure of love, joy, contentment, gratitude and equality of treatment. God gave to all of us the same amount of graces.
Obviously, the question must be asked, why are some people kinder than others? Here is why. They use what God gives them. These graces are not stale or stagnant graces. They do not allow their kindness just to lie in storage or in limbo. You either use it or lose it!
God has given to each of us a reservoir of kindness, and since God is not a respecter of persons, we each have the same amount placed in our reservoir. The difference is not in whether we have kindness, it is whether we use it or not. If one decides to be kind, then kindness is always flowing, and thus is fresh to us. If one decides not to be kind, then kindness becomes stale like the Dead Sea and will begin to even give off a stench after a while.
Why are some more thankful than others? It is because they decide to use their thankfulness and keep it fresh while it is flowing through them as they channel it to others. God has given to all men the same graces along with the same amount of each grace. God is not a respecter of persons, and from there we decide whether to use those graces or not to use them. Use it or lose it!
Many of you reading this article have a fresh pond of contentment, joy, thankfulness, kindness, mercy and love, while others of you have a stale stagnant pond that is beginning to give off an odor like the Dead Sea. The truth is, it was your call and your decision alone. To partake or not to partake is man’s choice.
The truth is, you are the way you are not because you do not love or are not thankful, but it is just that your pond of graces has not been stirred lately. God did not give those graces to you, but rather they were given by God to go through you to others. It is the cup that runneth over that is for others. God does not mind when these graces fill your own cup, but He does mind if it does not overflow.
Whatever God has given you is meant for others, and only then can those graces keep flowing and remain fresh to you and them. I challenge you to constantly look for ways to stir those graces for the benefit of others, and only then will what you have in your own cup remain fresh as well as the overflow. Stir up the waters of love, gratitude, kindness, mercy, and patience. Decide to be unselfish, thankful, and patient. It is then that these graces will continue to flow through you.
Dr. Bob Gray Sr.