Saturday, July 22, 2006

Attitude determines altitude

“You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully.” 2 Cor. 9:7

There is an attitude that leads toward generosity and another that leads to resentment. Any time we are manipulated or pressured into giving money it leaves a bad taste in our mouths. We sense that something is wrong and we don’t like it. But the attitude in our heart is half as much the problem as the pressure being applied on us to give.

We are told to not give reluctantly or under pressure because that is not the attitude that God enjoys. After all we are giving to Him, aren’t we? It is to Him that we give. Also the attitude that we have impacts us. A reluctant attitude leads toward resentment building up in our heart. This in turn results in a hardened, selfish heart-the opposite of what God loves.

At its core, giving is a matter of the heart. It is the heart that has been touched by God’s love that gives. It is the heart that has experienced God’s generosity that can open and respond in kind.

This is what God wants-a loving, grateful, and cheerful heart. This is what He desires for all of us. You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Giving-generous giving is what produces a heart of love that is open and generous. There is no other way for us to experience this level of God’s character than to give and give generously.

We are told to “make up our own mind” about what we are going to give. God wants us to think about it and come to a decision. Has God been generous to me? Should I generously give back to Him? How much should I give? These are questions that I need to make up my own mind about. Then respond to Him accordingly not reluctantly or under pressure but willingly and joyfully.

When I have this attitude, I can give expectantly. Yes. I can give with the expectation that he will provide for all my needs. This is His promise, and this is the context in which I can claim it. But not just my needs, His promise has always been to bless in abundance.

“And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” 2 Cor. 9:8

How much blessing do you want? It depends on how much blessing you want to give. Yes, your attitude determines your altitude. How high do you want to go?

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