[b]God Delights in Honesty & Cheerful Giving and Detests What the World Considers Great[/b]
[i]by Zac Poonen[/i]
1. God Delights in Honest People
"If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship
with one another." (I John 1:7). To walk in the light means first of
all that we hide nothing from God. We tell Him everything, exactly as
it is. I am convinced that the first step towards God is honesty.
God detests those who are insincere. Jesus spoke against hypocrites more
than He spoke against anyone else. God does not ask us to be holy or
perfect first of all, but to be honest. This is the starting point of
true holiness, and from this spring flows everything else. And if
there is one thing that is really easy for anyone of us to do, it is
to be honest. So, confess sin immediately to God. Don't call sinful
thoughts by "decent" names. Don't say, "I was only admiring the beauty
of God's creation," when actually you lusted adulterously with your eyes.
Don't call "anger" as "righteous indignation." You will never get
victory over sin if you are dishonest. And don't ever call "sin,"
"a mistake," because Jesus' blood can cleanse you from all your sins,
but not from your mistakes!! He does not cleanse dishonest people.
There is hope only for honest people. "He who covers his sin will
never prosper" (Prov.28:13). Why did Jesus say that there was more
hope for prostitutes and for thieves to enter God's kingdom than for
religious leaders? (Matt.21:31). Because prostitutes and thieves make
no pretence of being holy. Many young people are turned away from
churches because church-members give them the impression that they
themselves have no struggles. And so those young people think,
"That holy bunch of people will never understand our problems!!"
If this true of us, then we are unlike Christ Who drew sinners to Himself.
2. God Delights in a Cheerful Giver
"God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor.9:7).This is why God gives man
total freedom - both before and after conversion, and after being
filled with the Spirit. If we are like God, we also will not seek to
control others or pressurise them. We will give them freedom to be
different from us, to have different views from ours and to grow
spiritually at their own pace. All compulsion of any sort is from the devil.
The Holy Spirit fills people, whereas demons possess people.
The difference is this: When the Holy Spirit fills anyone, He still
gives that person freedom to do whatever he wants. But when demons
possess people they rob them of their freedom and control them.
The fruit of being filled with the Spirit is self-control (Gal.5:22-23).
Demon-possession, however, results in the loss of self-control.
We must remember that any work that we do for God that is NOT done
cheerfully, joyfully, freely and voluntarily is a dead work. Any work
done for God for a reward or for a salary is also a dead work. Any
money given to God under pressure from others has no value at all, as
far as God is concerned!! God values a little done cheerfully for Him
far more than a great deal done under compulsion, or done merely to
ease one's conscience.
3. God Detests All That This World Considers Great
"That which men esteem highly is detestable in God's sight" (Luke 16:15)
The things that are considered great in the world, not only have
no value in God's eyes, but are actually an abomination to Him.
Since all worldly honour is an abomination to God, it must be an abomination
to us too. Money is something that everyone on earth considers valuable.
But God says that those who love money and long to get rich will
suffer the following eight consequences sooner or later (1 Tim. 6:9-10).
(a) they will fall into temptation,
(b) they will fall into a trap,
(c) they will fall into foolish desires,
(d) they will fall into harmful desires,
(e) they will plunge into ruin,
(f) they will plunge into destruction,
(g) they will wander away from the faith and
(h) they will pierce themselves with many a pang.
I have seen this happen again and again to believers everywhere. One
of the main reasons why a prophetic word from the Lord is hardly ever
heard these days in our land, is because most preachers are lovers of
money. Jesus said that the true riches (the prophetic word being one
of them) would not be given by God to those who were unfaithful with
money (Luke 16:11). This is why we hear so many boring sermons and so
many boring testimonies in church-meetings and conferences.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon