Living Beyond yourself is not just a desire, it must be the direction of your life. This life is not found in what is sentimental but in what is practical. The most elusive reality about a life lived beyond is going from desire and sentiment to direction and practice.
Beyond begins with God.
Living beyond ourselves is our right response towards God who has gone beyond for us. “We love God because he first loved us.” “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.” God is the beginning of beyond. He loves beyond. He is gracious beyond. He can do beyond what we “ask or imagine.”
2 Corinthians 9:6-15 speaks to one of the most difficult issues of the heart that prevents us from living beyond ourselves: Money.
The passage begins with the truth that he who sows little also reaps little and he who sows much also reaps much. The decision to give is often difficult because there are so many emotions wrapped up in it. There are feelings about who or what you are giving to, who or what you are giving up, and who will know about your gift. These emotions are often how the enemy sneaks in and robs us of the joy of being a giver.
Giving is a living decision.
How you plan to give will determine how you live. The common lie we believe is that I will give after I have enough to live. But there will never be enough. Never. We have an insatiable appetite for more. The decision to give determines how we live. In this way, it is the decision that makes the other decisions.
These decisions include financial responsibility. Living on a budget can be a love/hate experience but is a necessity to be able to consistently give. Decisions that are based on budgets instead of bank accounts are typically better for the long view of financial stewardship.
A cheerful heart is not the result of a cheerful gift.
A cheerful gift is the result of a cheerful heart.
God loves a cheerful giver. This description of happiness and joy is not the description of the gift, it is the description of the person that gives. The gift we give cheerfully is the result of the life we live cheerfully.
I encourage you in your giving to avoid a life cycle of self-bribery. This occurs when we try to buy ourselves out of the guilt of selfishness by giving. We give so that we feel better about how we live. Instead, you should change how you live. Sacrifice some selfish desires to give beyond.
The cheerful heart speaks of what one loves. It is never difficult for people to invest in what and who they love. If you love fishing, you spend the money on it. Shoes a passion? You spend money on them. If you love it, you give of your self for it.
How much do you love Jesus and his glorious gospel?
How much do you love your church?
How much do you love your neighbor going through a hard time?
Do you love them enough to live in such a way that you can give? Decide in your heart what you will give, be cheerful…and do it!