Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Problem with Giving? Problem with Believing!

BELIEVE: To have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.

This morning just as I was opening my eyes I heard the Spirit say, “If you have trouble giving, you probably also have trouble believing.”
What an interesting thing to have spoken to me just as or just before my eyes opened this morning, but that’s what He said.

As I lay there thinking about what it meant, it really became very clear exactly what He was saying to me. I took an honest look at myself this morning upon hearing those words, and I had to admit that that is the absolute truth.  When I thought about all the times that I had a desire to give or even felt lead of the Lord to give certain amounts, when I didn’t do it, it was because I had some doubts about the return. When I chose not to give it was because I was thinking about my situation, what I had or didn’t have, or what I had thought about doing with that money. Even if I thought a little about the fact that it is more blessed to give than to receive, (Acts 20:35)I didn’t trust that it would happen when I wanted it to or quite frankly, at all.

Why would He say “probably”?  Maybe because some people are simply selfish, greedy and stingy. For them it’s got nothing to do with what God said He would do for them if they give, but just about getting and keeping as much as they can. That person according to scripture is called a fool. (Luke 12:20)

For the rest of us though, it really is just that simple.  If you have trouble giving it’s probably because you have trouble believing.

 We’ve already seen Acts 20:35.  Let’s find at least one more scripture about giving and see what it is that we should be believing. (There's more than one but this one is a good one!)

Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Now that’s an awesome promise! The question is though, do we believe it? It’s not complicated. It simply requires an answer of “Yes” or “No”. Whether or not you believe what the bible says about God’s response to your giving will determine whether or not you give, sometimes how much you give, and always the condition of your heart when you give. 

I Corinthians 9:7-8 (NLT) says, “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”[c] And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

The scripture tells us plain and simple how we should give, from how much (you decide), to the condition of your heart and attitude (cheerfully, not reluctantly or responding to pressure).  When we give this way, there is a promise that we will always have everything we need and plenty left over to share with others. When we look at it this way, why would there be a problem with believing?  How could anyone doubt this? Like I said earlier, when I chose not to give, it was because I wasn’t looking at any promise from God.  I was listening to things people were saying and accusing me of while trying to talk me into giving certain amounts.  I was thinking about my bills and financial obligations. I was thinking about what I had and didn’t have. And I didn’t really believe that I could expect God to do exactly what He said in His word, which was simply to bless me with enough and extra.

As people of God we tend to complicate things so much.  It’s enough to make me wonder if those who are browbeating God’s people even believe the word themselves.  Maybe that’s why they resort to pressuring people into giving instead of just giving them the word, trusting the Spirit of God to deal with each person’s heart, trusting the people of God to respond to the Word of God, and trusting that all their needs will be met also.

I remember how freely I gave as a teenager.  I remember weeping to my pastor when I was about 17 years old about how it seemed like people had to be begged to give. It hurt my heart that people didn’t want to simply give because they loved the Lord and He has asked us to give. I also remember as I got older and had the responsibilities of a household that my focus shifted from what the Word says about being a cheerful giver to what if this or that did or did not happen for me. My head got so clouded with so much of what people were saying that for a very long time, I couldn't think straight when it came to giving.  

I don’t share this word with you as if to say, “You people aren’t trusting God!” or “God said yawl aren’t believing Him!”  People tend to do that to take the spotlight off themselves that the Lord has clearly shined on them in order to help them. I share with you what was first shared with me.  Remember I said I had to take an honest look at myself first. The Holy Spirit spoke those words to me. I share them with you because my assignment from God is to teach as I learn.

So what do I…what do we do now?  It’s time to continue to look honestly at our hearts toward God. It’s time to continue to ask ourselves and give the honest answer, “Do I believe God’s Word?  Do I believe that He will do exactly what He said He will do when I give freely and cheerfully? Am I giving according to how I’ve been instructed to give in scripture? ” 

You see, basically God is saying, “If you believe My Word, you will give. Period.”  No ifs, ands, or butts, or what had happened was.  If you believe, you will give. I’m reminded of the man in Mark 9:24 who cried out, “Lord I believe!  Help thou mine unbelief!”  He wasn’t talking about money or giving in that scripture but it does remind us that as much as we do believe, there are times when we still battle with thoughts of doubt that would try and make us back down from what our hearts are reaching for in God.

So I encourage you today as I remind and encourage myself, to get back to scripture. Give according to scripture. Show that you believe the promise by giving. Ask the Lord to help you to hear HIM more clearly, to weed out all of the words you’ve heard over the years and to stop using those words as excuses to not obey God’s instructions.  You see, no matter what anyone says in a building, into a microphone, you have His word available to you and quite frankly, you are without excuse.  I want to return to being the blessed, cheerful, pure-hearted and free giver that I was as a teenager and this morning the Lord let me know that He wants that for me also, and not only that, but He will help me. He will help you too.

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