Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Giver or Getter?

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It Is More Blessed To Give Than To Receive

We need a new way of thinking.  When people are selfish, they think of how to please themselves.  This kind of thinking leads people to be trapped in habitual sins that affect the mind and give a sensation of pleasure, but destroy the body and the will to practice self control. A mind given to the pursuit of pleasure produces addiction to sin and slavery.

Paul said we should set our minds on things above.  We should think like Jesus, who set His mind upon serving others, even to the point of dying on the cross.  His example of service reveals the way that we can have satisfaction in our own lives.  Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive, Acts 20:35.  We can never be satisfied by getting things for the purpose of giving us temporary pleasure.  The more we get, the more we want.  Fleshly indulgence promises satisfaction, but produces slavery.  Instead of thinking about our own pleasure, we need to think about what will be pleasing to Jesus (what would Jesus do?).

We need to think about good things, as Paul instructed the Christians at Philippi, Phil 4:8.  Meditation is famous in India.  Many people who claim to be holy men visualize things by meditation.  But the meditation encouraged by Paul is thinking about things that are real and Holy.  We should meditate on the one true God, not on idols such as being covetous about money.  We should meditate about lives given to service, not about lives dedicated to certain ways of dress and taking limited kinds of food.  We should meditate upon the beauty of righteousness, not upon the shining appearance of some golden idol.  Many things look good to the human eye, but if our thoughts are holy, we want to see a virtuous life.

Peter instructed us about things we need to do in order to make our call and election sure, 2 Pet 1:5-10.  We must work hard to put off the attitudes of the world and to put on the attitudes of Jesus.  We must allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us and guide us in the right direction.  We learn what the Holy Spirit teaches by studying the Bible.  Personal Bible study is very important because God reveals His will for us through the message of the Bible.  We need to pray to God to give us the needed strength and encouragement by His divine power.  If we think we can do things by our own power, we will be deceived.  But if we trust the power of God by honoring Him and His word, then we can go in the right direction.

Jesus spoke about how our perspective affects our inner being.  Matt 6:23-24.  He talks about the eye as a representative of how we see things spiritually.  If we are full of sin and hatefulness, we will see great opportunities for sin, and great hindrances to service.  If our heart is full of love for God and our fellow man, we will see great opportunities for service.  Jesus said it well; “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

One American missionary to Central America named Elliot is reported to have said; “He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot loose.”  He gave his life in an effort to bring primitive tribal people to Jesus.  If we loose our life for Christ, we have actually gained eternal life.  But if we give ourselves over to self gratification because we think that we should do all things that make us feel good, we will destroy our lives with sin, and lose our lives in eternity.

If we have our minds set on the temporary pleasures of this life, we will miss the eternal joy with Jesus.  Unless we are willing to experience the temporary sacrifices of lives devoted to service, we may fail to gain blessings that last forever.

“He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose!” If we give our lives for Jesus, then we will be blessed people.

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