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'The Heart of the Matter is a Matter of the Heart ' Chris Reed

God gave heaven’s best so we could have life. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” He did not give us money, because money could not pay for the redemption of the world. Instead, He gave what we spiritually needed: a Savior. We often talk about prayer, but we cannot talk about the need to increase our prayer lives without also talking about increasing our giving. While the Bible talks about financial giving, it talks more about giving God our time, energy, and attention. When someone gets married, they must be willing to give 100 percent. Selfish people do not do well in relationships, because successful relationships are based on giving, not standing our ground just for the sake of it. It is the same with our relationships with God; we must be willing to give. Deuteronomy 15:7-10 says, “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs. Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand,’ and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the Lord against you, and it become sin among you. You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand.” “The year of release” in verse 9 references a time when all debts were canceled. So, if a person lent someone money right before then, there was no guarantee it would be paid back. He is basically saying do not get bitter towards them; be thankful you were able to lend instead of borrowing. The point is this: whether it’s your field, your land, or your money, God gave it to you. You may have worked for it, but if He did not give you the ability and mental acuity to do it, you would not have it. Deuteronomy 15 deals with the attitude of the heart, because the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. We often emphasize spiritual gifts and the supernatural but know this: the fruit of the Spirit is more important than the gifts. The fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (see Galatians 5:22-23). Living for God is all about how the fruit of the Spirit can dictate our spiritual attitudes. Can you take correction? Can you forgive? Can you overlook someone’s fault, or do you instead try to punish or control them?

Only 2 Remain

How we answer these questions tells us how we approach matters of the heart, like giving and forgiveness. “The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness” (see Psalm 24:1). You would not have earned a dime on your paycheck had you not been given the breath, strength, or vitality to punch a time clock. God considers selfishness as wickedness. God invented giving. He invented the concept of tithes and offerings; a preacher did not come up with it. Many think kingdom giving is about supporting the work of God. If God wanted to, He could find a way to sustain the kingdom of God without us or our money. However, He chooses to do it with us. God created giving to rid us of greed and selfishness. Under the old covenant, people were commanded to offer sacrifices. However, giving is now a matter of the heart. God did not write His law on stone in the new covenant; He wrote it upon our hearts. We get to partake of His divine nature (see 2 Peter 1:4). He infuses His nature in us so, slowly and gradually, we will begin to think, act, talk, and be more like Jesus, who selflessly gave His life for us. This is why it is wrong to preach “give to get.” Some preachers urge people to give so they can receive blessings from God. That mentality basically promotes selfishness and greed. God does not want us to give while expecting something in return. However, God will bless us if we give selflessly. “For this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand” (see Deuteronomy 15:10). Giving is not natural to the carnal, sinful man or woman. Giving is a sign we are like Christ because God is the biggest giver of all. Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” The heart of the matter is that we should honor God with our resources, energy, and time.

Chris Reed



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