This week, we have looked at what it means to be generous and how that can enhance our lives in so many ways. The important thing to remember is that none of this is possible without God. We want to do these things, of course! But, as we read yesterday in Luke, do we want that to include someone hurting us? I don’t want to be nice to that person! And, do we really want to give up all of our stuff? I mean, maybe something I haven’t worn in a year and a half, but if it’s cute ….
On our own, no matter how hard we try, strive, and have great intentions, something will go wrong because we are human. This is why we need Jesus. We want to be good and generous and refreshing to others, but does it have to be so hard?
If we are going to pour good into others, we need to focus on what is going on inside of us. We can do this by connecting with God daily and allowing him to refresh us. Allowing God to fill us with his Spirit makes it possible for us to bear the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus uses this exact metaphor in John 15:5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Without that personal connection, all we do is pour out, and that eventually becomes very draining. Despite our good intentions, we become bitter and resentful, or just plain worn out. In this passage Jesus goes on to say that when we choose to remain in the Father’s love, he will give us everything we need and that he actually chose us and anointed us to bear this fruit.
9 “have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.”
Growing closer to God and learning to trust is how we can receive from him. It is how we are filled up. Merely trying to be a more loving, patient, joy-filled person may work for a while, but to truly become more of those things requires a deep relationship with God.
How can a deeper relationship with God create a more generous life?
If you haven’t already blessed the person you were asked to think of yesterday, spend some time with God asking him how he would have you bless that person.
If you already did something for someone, spend some time with God reflecting on how it made you feel.
Father, thank you for choosing me to bear this fruit. Help me to remain in you so that I will be refreshed enough to be a blessing to others. Help me to stop striving and start trusting you to create this fruit in me. Amen.
This post was written by Kelda Strasbourg. Kelda is a grateful member of the LivingItOut writing team. She has a love for Jesus and desire to help others find that same love. She has her own business and a border collie named Emily.
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