Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.
1 Corinthians 16:2, KJV
Sometimes people say, “I don’t believe in tithing because we don’t live under the Law.” As Christians, we live under grace, and hallelujah for that! Does that mean we shouldn’t honor God with the first portion of our income?
In the Old Testament, specific giving was taught; in the New Testament, giving was sacrificial. In the Old Testament, giving was done by Law; in the New Testament, out of love. In the Old Testament, giving was an obligation; in the New Testament, it was an opportunity. In the Old Testament, giving was done by percentage; in the New Testament, by proportion, “as God has prospered” us. In the Old Testament, giving was a responsibility; in the New Testament, it’s a response.
The truth is, some Christians today are stuck at ten percent when they should be giving eleven percent, or fifteen, or twenty percent. But whatever we give, we shouldn’t do less under grace than under law.
Don’t let the law/grace debate erode your stewardship. Give as God has prospered you.
Almighty God has given me a home in heaven forever and ever. Why would I want to be miserly with Him?
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18
At first, very small children are reluctant to admit to their wrongdoings. At the heart of their reluctance is fear. But in a loving environment a transformation gradually takes place. Children become willing to admit their misdeeds because their confidence in their parents’ love for them is unwavering. When love is given and received—when love becomes the unconditional norm—it removes fear from the relationship.
The same is true in our relationship with God. John wrote, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.” Fear of what? Fear of punishment, of banishment, of the end of the relationship. But such is never the case with God’s unconditional love. His love for us is not based on our good deeds but on His choice. His love is the reflection of His character. Even if we sin, God “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9). God has demonstrated His love for us in Jesus Christ (Romans 5:8). We should never fear being separated from His love by anything (Romans 8:35-39).
Are you secure in God’s love? Let His love remove all fear from your heart and mind.
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
Two aspects of the spiritual life have resonated throughout biblical history and to the present day: faith and works. Different groups of Christians have emphasized one aspect more than the other at different times in Church history. But the biblical view is that they are both important. Take the dimension of faith called love. Throughout Scripture, love is validated by works.
For example, Paul’s famous words about love in 1 Corinthians 13 are all about the actions of love: patience, kindness, protection, trust, perseverance, and more. Likewise, the absence of love is revealed by the opposite of loving actions. The Bible’s most well-known verse—John 3:16—connects God’s love to God’s action: He loved us and sent His Son to provide a way to be forgiven and have eternal life. And the apostle John wrote, “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world” (1 John 4:9). Jesus said that His followers’ loving actions would be the way to point the world to Him (John 13:35).
Love (faith) and actions are a divine connection. We are to be toward others as God in Christ has been toward us (Ephesians 4:32).
All that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but is of the world.
1 John 2:16
Actor Jim Carrey said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of, so that they can see that it’s not the answer.”
The apostle John warned us against falling in love with anything that is in the world, and he highlighted three dangerous areas for every believer:
Our appetites—the lust of the flesh. God made us with certain needs, such as food, water, and comfort. But the devil exploits these against us. We eat too much, drink too much, and engage in addictive behavior. How we need the Spirit’s control!
Our acquisitions—the lust of the eyes. Living in a materialistic age with the power of making purchases instantly, we must remember our possessions are temporary.
Our approval ratings—the pride of life. The applause of men is short-lived; but the joy of pleasing God is an eternal pursuit.
The world will take priority in our lives if we do not make a purposeful choice to deny its attractions and focus on growing in our assurance of our faith.
Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway.
The Appalachian Trail is approximately 2,200 miles long, winding up and down and through rugged mountains from Georgia to Maine. It takes thru-hikers an average of 165 rigorous days to make the trip, and it requires about 5,500 calories a day to sustain their strength. That’s equivalent to nearly 10 Big Macs daily. Hiking the entire Appalachian Trail in one summer is grueling, but it simply requires putting one foot in front of the other—about five million times.
The Bible often compares our Christian life to a walk—but it’s no easy stroll. It’s an arduous hike requiring perseverance. When we begin our walk with God, we’re like infants taking their first steps—we are filled with glee—but we don’t know quite what we are doing. But as we mature, this should change and our footsteps should become more stable, firm, and determined.
If you’re tired on the trail, don’t give up. Psalm 85:13 says He has gone before us, and we’re simply walking in His footsteps. And Psalm 86:11 offers us a prayer: “Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.”