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Give and Grow

GenerousJesus was talking with the Pharisee, Jonah, about “cleaning the inside of his cup,” by giving generously to others and to Kingdom work. As I watched this the Spirit brought this scenario to my mind:

Picture this: A new Christian approaches you and says, “I’ve seen the Light. My heart has changed. Yes, I’ve been born again. Now I want to grow. I plan to spend time praying, seeking, reading and studying God’s word. But I really want to accelerate my growth in trust, because all of you Apostles say Jesus emphasized trust over and over again.

“So my question is how do I accelerate my trusting in the Lord?”

I might typically respond with something like, “Well, it’s a process. It takes time, and it takes experiencing life with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. And as we learn to live with the Holy Spirit’s power, we learn to view this world as a God-saturated world, and therefore trusting becomes more natural.”

This would be a proper answer. But that wasn’t his question. His question was how to accelerate the process of trusting God.

After spending so much time with the Master, I believe Jesus’ answer to this new Christian would be, “You must have a tent sale of the heart.” And he would say the first step is to start giving. Because Jesus knows our hearts, and he knows nothing – not one thing – will test your trust more than to give your money away generously.

Trust me my friend, this will test your trust. Our possessions too often possess us, and keep us in a prison of possession. My possessions, both material and emotional (self, pride and greed just to name three) clog up my heart and block my path to peace. I want a clean heart. I want to be free from all my old prisons, don’t you?

When I first started to give generously, more than I was comfortable giving, I found myself looking to the Lord and saying, “Okay, I’m listening to you. I’m trusting you. Or at least I’m trying to trust you. But Father this makes me nervous to give like this. What if …? What about …? How will I …? Is this even practical?”

The Holy Spirit’s antidote for my nervousness is for me to realize, “I know I have to trust your promises, Father, to take care of me. If I first take care of your Kingdom, you will absolutely take care of me.” The cleaning process then starts – because the trusting process started first. The progression is: from fear – to faith – to freedom!

I don’t know of anything more freeing than learning to trust God.

And to gain this freedom, I started by giving, and giving generously.

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