Wednesday, December 11, 2013
"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered." Proverbs 11:24-25
When we extend God's grace freely to others in spite of their imperfect behaviors we are truly showing a heart overflowing with the understanding of the gifts we have been given. If we hold back until behavior is as we think it should be, we will never give of ourselves in the way God is asking.
Grace and love are not given in perfect circumstances or when another person acts as we think they should. Grace and love overflowing are to be given as a sign of your heart and behavior--not another's. Grace, love, extending ones self is a lifestyle choice. It doesn't come and go. It becomes a state of the heart, a virtue that we put on daily.
Grace, mercy and love are not dependent on anothers behavior. If they were, no one would ever receive them. We would never have received God's grace. God's grace and blessings are not only given when we have perfect behavior. He is generous to us and our cup runneth over.
The world teaches to hold back when we are treated wrongly, when the other persons behavior is less than stellar, even hurtful. But we can extend the love we have been given and taught freely without reservation. This heals and restores. Holding back only hurts others and ourselves.
It is a sign of our heart growth when we extend freely. A sign of our growing maturity in Christ to give whole heartedly. Our giving may not come back perfectly to us in this life but we feel freedom and peace in our hearts by being obedient. God asks us not to be "stingy" with our love but to give it in abundance.
So much conflict is avoided when we give freely, without concern for ourselves. When the concern creeps in for ourselves is where the selfishness resides in our hearts and we begin to hold back. It is a blindness to ourselves and our own sin. If our eyes see how God has blessed us we begin to have no room for selfishness. We will suffer want ourselves when we do not give and then we wonder why our heart feels lacking. We begin to blame the other person when the problem resides within us.
By giving we also enter into God's freedom. If we do not freely give, what are we hanging onto? What resentments cause us to be childishly "budgeted" with our love? Let us ask God to heal this selfish hardness of heart so that our heart is warm to God and others. In our heart lies the treasure that is Christ and this treasure is to be given away freely to others. In giving freely the chains are broken off of our own hearts.
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21
"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." 2 Corinthians 9:6
"They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life." 1 Timothy 6:18-19