Generally speaking, do you WANT to please the Lord? Are you eager to do what is good? The Spirit within us does!
9 The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.
Generous- liberal in giving or sharing; unselfish: free from meanness or smallness of mind or character; magnanimous.
In the Greek- pleasant, agreeable, good.
What we are talking about here is character. Some people are naturally generous, where others must work at it to become generous. Here’s the catch:
Are we being generous under the leadership of the Holy Spirit?
Bill Gates is generous, but is he being led by the Spirit? If not, then anything he does is wicked because it is done for his glory and not God’s. The same is true in our lives. ANYTHING we do that is not Spirit-led is for our glory. It’s because WE want to. Do you hear it? That self-centered heart? THAT’S the very thing that needs to be replaced–daily–with obedience to Him.
The best way to hear His voice is to practice hearing Him through reading His Word. The Bible is God’s revealed message to us. He thought it important enough to write it down and preserve it for over 3500 years! I reckon that’s pretty important, don’t you? As we read, we get nudges and whispers from the Spirit. Follow them. Write them down and verify them. Scripture validates Scripture. It’s how we keep from “proof-texting,” which means to draw a verse out of context in order to make it mean something it doesn’t for our benefit. There’s that self-centered heart again! We must access our new hearts given to us by God (see Ezekiel 36:26-27), which came with a new Covenant (see Jeremiah 31:31-33). We received it through the grace of God. Paul’s letter to Titus explains:
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14
- God’s grace IS the Holy Spirit. Think about it: GOD comes to live in our hearts! WOW!
- He teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions. How do we know what they are? We read His Word and find out; we ask Him anytime we have a question or doubt about what is being said or is going on; we take our lead from others who are wise and godly–even then, always checking with the Spirit for confirmation and guidance (wise men have been wrong before, and God may have something different in mind for us).
- The Spirit teaches us to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives. We are on display before the entire world (or our part of it). We are either beacons that call the lost to the Lord, “the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved,” or we are witnesses whose testimony is used against those who have heard the Gospel and seen it lived out, but rejected it and Him:To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to another, an aroma that brings life (2 Corinthians 2:16).”
- Our hope is in His imminent return!
- Jesus gave himself for us to redeem us and to purify us. He has entered our hearts and we enjoy sweet fellowship with Him. Out of sheer gratitude, we are eager to do what is good according to the Spirit, right?
Let’s quit messing around, folks. Let’s get serious about living life for Him and with Him. Let’s do the hard thing and “study to show ourselves approved, rightly handling the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15).” Let’s seek His counsel at every turn for every decision. Let’s check with Him BEFORE we give an answer. Let’s live by the Spirit and keep in step with Him (Galatians 5:25). Let’s be GENEROUS today!
Abba, keeping You in the forefront of my mind means actively praising You all day long. Anytime I turn my thoughts to You, I immediately begin to thank You for who You are and what You’ve done for me. My feelings automatically change into gratitude; I sense Your love, Your joy and peace, and ofttimes I receive understanding of whatever situation I’m in. Learning to discern Your guidance is what sanctification (becoming like You) is all about. May I “study to show myself approved” by You, O LORD. Amen.