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Weekly Wisdoms

Your level of living depends on your level of giving.

Conventional wisdom says that your life will be better if you keep everything you have for yourself. However, God clearly says that your life will be better if you work to make another person’s life better.

In Galatians 6:7-9, Paul writes, Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

In other words, what you give to others will affect how they give to you; the amount of love, patience, and kindness that you show to others will affect the amount that they show to you. This principle of giving and receiving applies to many areas of life. For example, if you invest an hour a day into exercising, then you will reap the benefits of that investment—a strong, healthy body. However, if you invest that same time into flipping channels on T.V., then you will reap the benefits of that investment—a wasted hour.

Paul isn’t just talking about money or time; in fact, he is focusing on giving into the lives of others. In the very next verse, Galatians 6:10, Paul instructs believers: Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. If you “do good” to others by giving into their lives, then you will benefit.

So, if you don’t feel like you’re getting the love you should get, then maybe you should ask yourself if you’re giving the love you should give. Why? Because you reap what you sow. If you give love, you’ll receive love. If you give friendship, you’ll receive friendship. If you give mercy, you’ll receive mercy. (It is important to note that you may not always receive from the same place you give.)

Therefore, decide to give freely to others, actively look for ways to be a blessing to other people, and deliberately go out of your way to walk in love. Then, watch as the benefits of that giving affect your life. Remember, your level of living depends on your level of giving.

Love God and do as you please.

St. Augustine, an influential Christian author of the fourth century A.D., wrote this: “Love God and do as you please.” On the surface, that may seem like a license for sin—”As long as I love God, I can do anything I want, and God’s okay with whatever I do.”

But Augustine seemed to realize that if you genuinely love God, then you will want to do what honors him most. Just as a married woman who loves her husband will want to make him look good, lift him up, and honor him, so also a person who loves God will want to glorify, magnify, and honor him. If you truly love God, then his Holy Spirit will transform you such that what pleases God will become what pleases you.

Jesus, who is God, made this observation: “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). Similarly, the Apostle John wrote, “This is love for God: to obey his commands” (1 John 5:3). And finally, the Psalmist wrote, “I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly” (Psalm 119:167).

When we love God, then we want to obey him; obeying him becomes a sign that we love him. Jesus linked love for God with obeying the commandments (i.e., with obeying God’s law) in this way: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).

If you love God, then his Holy Spirit, who dwells in you, will conform you—all of you, including your desires—into the image of his Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). In this way, what pleases you and what pleases God become one and the same such that if you love God, you can do whatever pleases you and God will be pleased.

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