More Blessed To Give Than Receive

Proverbs 21:3, 27—To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?

God doesn’t need your offering in the plate, but you need to give it! Sometimes we get the idea that if we give to God or make some kind of sacrifice, God is indebted to us. Maybe then He will overlook our sins that we refuse to forsake. The justification in our minds goes something like this: “I don’t want to give up this thing that I know is wrong, so instead, I will give to the needy.” Good deeds don’t nullify evil ones. They don’t earn you points in heaven. We are expected to do good when we are able to. That is simply the right thing to do. Not to do so is evil. God owns everything, even the things in your temporary possession. When you sacrifice of your time or money, you are merely giving what is God’s into the hands of another. That is liberating for you. It helps you stay free from enslavement to the love of money. God gave it to you so you could pass it on to those in need. It is more blessed to give than receive. God is the greatest giver. When we give we are like Him, if we give from pure motives. Some would give expecting influence or favor in return. That is to sacrifice with evil intent. Giving should have no strings attached. It is simply a transfer in stewardship to those with a greater need. God is not after your possessions. He is after your heart. He wants you to be increasingly conformed to His likeness. That includes giving from a pure heart of compassion for the need of others, or giving at the direction of the One you love. Samuel told Saul that to obey was better than sacrifice, and to listen to God than sacrificial ram’s blood. If God has your heart, then your sacrifices come from pure motives. Consider: Am I unconsciously putting strings on my gifts?

Being Made Holy

Hebrews 10:12-14—But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

This passage is reminding us that Jesus’ work of redemption is finished. He is now seated at the right hand of God, the place of power and authority. What He did cannot be undone. Meanwhile, God is putting everything under Christ’s feet. That is an often-repeated theme of Scripture. Part of the process of putting all things under His feet is described in verse 14. Many Christians do not understand why they continue to sin. If Jesus made us perfect if we are a new creation in Christ if our heart has been made new, then why am I still struggling with the flesh? Why do I have to crucify it daily? All those things are true of you. You have been made perfect before God. A transaction has been made. You gave your sins, past, present and future, (for all time) to Jesus upon the cross. You received His righteousness like a credit to your account. It is not yet what you express in your daily life, but it is what the Father counts as yours. The last line of our passage sounds like a contradiction if we do not understand this idea, “made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Remember that God sees all time presently. The work is done and yet it is in progress. You are being made holy in your daily expression, yet you are perfect before God from His eternal view. Our daily struggle with sin, our daily crucifixion of our old nature, is putting the enemies under the feet of Jesus. We are being made holy, and will only be finished when we see Him. (1 John 3:2) It is the process of sanctification, and it will be completed. Don’t despair of the struggle. Battle on! It is God putting all enemies under the feet of your Savior. The last enemy will be death itself (1 Corinthians 15:26). Don’t be discouraged. It is a work of God.

Meditation: How can I cooperate today with God’s work of making me holy?

Learning To Listen Instead Of Speaking

Proverbs 13:3—-He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

Proverbs 17:27-28—Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

Today there seems to be an effort to speak the most words and dominate any conversation. I have often listened to conversations in which two people speak at the same time, as if they were vying for airtime. Does our society consider the silent one to be the wise one? It seems the one who gets his point across the clearest and most convincingly is considered the winner. But does it matter how it seems? Ultimately, for you to come to a correct conclusion, an understanding of God’s view is really the important thing. Do you find yourself falling into our cultural norm of saying too much and then wishing you’d shown more restraint? The proverbs we are considering today teach that guarding our lips is guarding our very life. It is the man of knowledge who shows restraint. One appropriate word can demolish an edifice built by a thousand rash words. Restraint gives you time to consider the validity of what is said and to search out any faults in an argument. Language has a number of patterns that are designed to build a case. Many of them have flaws that are easily pointed out. The Holy Spirit can show them to you if you are listening. If you are trying to speak just to make your point, you will miss that quiet voice of the Spirit. There is nothing wrong with saying nothing and speaking another day after considering the matter. You don’t have to win every discussion. Consider: We have two ears and one mouth. Does that tell us something about the ratio in which they should be used?

Go To The Throne Of Grace And Ask

Hebrews 4:14-16—Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Why should we endure in this faith that we profess? It’s because Jesus has gone through the heavens and into the very presence of God to intercede for us. Having gained such a great victory for us, all we must do is endure. What a tragedy if we fall away after He has done and is doing so much for us! Cling to your faith. After all, this faith that we have is like no other. This faith declares a God that feels our suffering with us. Having endured every temptation we face, He can speak to our hearts the solution that He proved works. He can show us the way out of each and every temptation we face because He found the way Himself. After blazing that sinless trail for us, He gave us His righteousness while taking our sin to the death of the cross. It is with His righteousness that we can confidently approach the very throne of God. It is a throne of grace to us who have received His mercy through the blood of Christ. There, before the throne, we not only receive grace, that which we do not deserve, but also mercy, that which we do not deserve in the place of judgment that we do deserve. Asking for the gifts we need to endure and to be what we are called to be is asking for grace. Asking for continual cleansing for our shortcomings and for gifts in spite of the fact that we did not use them properly when last given is asking for mercy. We can confidently ask for both because of our Great High Priest. There is no need to wallow in condemnation.