by Peter Youngren
Since I began the monthly “Increase For You” teaching at the beginning of this year, we have looked at our heart. Jesus made it abundantly clear that prosperity begins in the heart. Our job is to see to it that our heart is filled with good treasure. This is entirely doable since by being born again God has given us a new heart. Here are some of the important principles we have looked at:
• Faith people have fears; they just don’t let their fears stop them.
• Your comfort zone is your prosperity zone, so expand your comfort zone.
• It’s never the size of the problem; it’s how big Jesus is in you.
This month we look at how generosity is inseparable from prosperity, because generosity is the nature of God.
1. Giving exercises my God-nature.
We are “partakers of the divine nature”–– (2 Peter 1:4). Since God is generous and gives “to all liberally”, as seen in how “God so loved the world that He gave…”, we become givers. God is a great lover and great lovers are great givers.
It is possible to give without loving but we can’t love without giving. In fact, giving is the most talked about characteristic in the Bible. “Faith” is mentioned 612 times, “hope” 185 times and “love” 733 times. When we look at “give” and “giving,” these are mentioned a whopping 2292 times. Why does giving take up so much space in the Bible?
Because our giving is an expression of faith, hope and love. It shows that God is in us.
2. Giving guards my heart.
Jesus said, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Money is like a magnet that pulls at our heart. When I give my money to Jesus and His Gospel, my heart is pulled toward Jesus and the Gospel. It’s not that God needs our money; He wants what money represents – our life. The core of selfishness is getting, while the essence of God’s love in us is giving.
3. Giving proves the reality of my faith.
Paul wrote, “Your giving proves the reality of your faith” (2 Cor 9:13 Phillips). We can talk all we want about believing in Jesus and in the power of His Gospel, but our giving for the Gospel proves the reality of our words. That’s why God wants us to give as we purpose in our heart, “not grudgingly or of necessity, because God loves a cheerful giver.” This kind of giving carries a promise that “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Do you see how giving is connected to our prosperity? Giving expresses love from our hearts, and remember the previous teaching: prosperity begins in the heart. This generous way of living is backed up by the God who makes “all grace abound” to us.
4. Giving without grief.
God told the people of Israel that when they give to God expecting prosperity, they should not be “grieved” in their giving (Deuteronomy 15:10). That sure ties in with what Paul told us that God loves a cheerful giver. You know, it is possible to give with “grief”. That’s when we give because we feel pressure, either to impress others, God or ourselves. When giving is a joyful expression, it comes from a heart that knows we can never out-give God. His harvest for us is always bigger than our seed. Isaiah wrote that “a generous man devises generous things, and by generosity he shall stand” (Isaiah 32:8). To “devise” is to scheme or plan. The generous person’s mind is filled with plans how to be generous. Then generosity causes the person to “stand” even when everything around him or her is falling apart. You see givers are happy people while takers are miserable.
Remember, prosperity comes in so many ways: increased income, decreased expenses, good health, ideas, guidance and inner peace. The widow woman who lived in a time of famine gave her last piece of food to the prophet when she herself was flat broke. The Macedonians must have been in a similar position, because Paul says that they abounded “out of deep poverty” into “great generosity”.
Sometimes the greatest blessings manifest when we recognize that we are nothing in ourselves, but our entire dependency is on Jesus. There are lots of great principles, but remember the number one reason, in fact the very foundation, for your prosperity is Jesus. You don’t make yourself prosperous–– his death and resurrection have laid the foundation for your prosperity. Look at this key scripture again:
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”
(2 Corinthians 8:9)
We could interpret this verse to mean that we become rich spiritually, emotionally or mentally and that’s certainly true. Yet in its context it speaks of finances. Jesus Christ became poor, that we might become rich. That’s what I base my entire faith on––what Jesus has done. He has provided prosperity. Meditate on what Jesus has done, receive it and let generosity flow.Give Your Best Seed HereMy Prayer Request