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God Is A Giving God
We often limit our ideas about Christian giving to that money placed in the offering plate passed on Sunday mornings. But have you discovered that giving is a picture of the character of God? Our God is a giving God! "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). "Every good gift...cometh down from the Father" (James 1:17). The very center of the gospel is giving by God. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Salvation, eternal life, and in fact, everything that we have or ever will have are gifts from God.
Jesus Is A Giving Lord
Giving is also a picture of the character of our Lord Jesus. Our Lord is a giving Lord. He gave Himself, His very own life for you and for me. "Our Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself for our sins..." (Galatians 1:3-4). "The Son of God...loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20b).
Think about how much He gave up to come to this tiny planet for us. He gave up all the riches, the honor, the glory and the worship He had in heaven --for us. "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9). Our forgiveness of sins, our salvation, our eternal life were all given to us at Christs expense. His great love for us cost Him all that He had!
Christians Are A Giving People
True Christians are a giving people. Giving is a picture of the character of God in their lives. Do you know what the Bible teaches about Christian giving? Here are some principles from Gods Word to show you Gods wisdom about your giving in the New Testament:
Your Giving Should Be:
First Giving Yourself to the Lord (2 Corinthians 8:5). Paul, the apostle, said that the Macedonians "first gave themselves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God." Your giving to others and for others should take place only after you have given yourself to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master. This is Gods will for your life.
A Sacrifice to God (Philippians 4:18). Paul described the Philippian churchs gifts to him as "an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing unto God." Your giving, in Gods eyes, is a sacrifice placed on His altar, and that is pleasing to Him.
A Ministry to the Saints (2 Corinthians 9:1). Speaking about the Corinthians gift to the needy believers in the Jerusalem church, Paul said this gift was "ministering to the saints." Your giving is a ministry to other Christians who are in need. Giving through your church is a ministry to meet the needs of Christians, and also to meet the most important need of non-Christians--that they might also receive Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord. When you minister to others whom God sends into your life, you will give to them from your resources and even from your life as you spend time loving and caring for them.
From the Heart and Cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). Gods word tells us "Every man as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver." Your giving should be done cheerfully, from your heart and willingly, not because you believe you have to give.
Love in Action (1 John 3:17-18). John said if someone sees his Christian brother in need and does not help him "how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth." When you truly love others, you will give to meet their needs. Gods love is a giving love, and your giving will show Gods love in your life.
Your Giving Will Result In:
Thanksgivings and Glory to God (2 Corinthians 9:12-13). "This service...is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;...[because of] this ministry they glorify God..." Those brothers and sisters whom you help will give many thanks to our Lord for His answer to their prayers, and will give glory to Him for using you in this way.
God Supplying All You Need for His Work (2 Corinthians 9:8). "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work." It is a precious promise of God that when you give to the Lord and His work, He will always supply more than enough to meet all your needs and also provide all that you need to give to His work.
Giving Christians Suffer Loss
When you give, you suffer loss. You give up part of what you have. It is our nature to want to keep and to hold on to all that we have. It is not our nature to give away what we believe belongs to us. (The Bible teaches that everything really belongs to God: Psalm 50:10; Haggai 2:8). When you give your money, your time and your possessions to the Lord and to others, you suffer loss and it hurts. It is Gods nature to give. Yet our Lord Jesus suffered loss and hurt when He gave His all for our sakes.
Giving Christians Are Cheerful
God wants you to be joyful when you give. We read this in 2 Corinthians 9:7: "...God loveth a cheerful giver." How can you give to the Lord and to others cheerfully, even when it hurts? You cant do this naturally. You can only do this supernaturally. You will be able to give the way God wants you to give when His Spirit controls your life and you have the character of God.
Cheerful, Giving Christians Are Filled With The Spirit of God
Before God can control your life, you must be holy and cleansed from your sins. Ask the Lord to forgive you of the sin of selfishness, of your wanting to keep all that He has given to you. Ask Him to forgive you of other sins in your life so that you may be clean, a "vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Masters use, and prepared unto every good work" (2 Timothy 2:21). Then ask Him to fill you with His Spirit as He commanded in Ephesians 5:18. To be filled with the Spirit means that you allow Him to take over the "drivers seat" in your life, so that He guides and directs you to do Gods will.
Your life will show the "fruit of the Spirit--love joy, peace, long-suffering..." (Galatians 5:22-23).
As you obey the Lord and do His will with His love and joy in your heart, you will have the character of God in your life and you will be a cheerful, giving Christian!