This past weekend Ben asked us this question, “What is a life that excites the heart of God?” When answering that question, many of us go right to a list of do’s and don’ts. If I go to church every weekend, if I read the LivingItOut Study or another Bible study, if I pray enough, if I give financially to the church, then God will be pleased with me, and my actions will excite his heart. On the other side, there is the list of don’ts that I need to keep in mind. If I don’t smoke, don’t drink too much, don’t look at that or say this, then God will be pleased with me. We all know the list of don’ts pretty well, right?
God is more interested in our hearts than our actions though. We can rock the list of do’s and avoid the list of don’ts, but if God doesn’t have our hearts, then he isn’t excited about those actions.
What excites God’s heart is when we trust him. Our memory verse for this series tells us that he is actively looking for people who have trusted him with their hearts.
2 Chronicles 16:9a
9The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
So, what does it look like when we trust him and when we are fully committed to him? Ben used a passage in 2 Corinthians 9 to help us understand what it looks like when we live a life of trust.
2 Corinthians 9:6-10
Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.
In these verses, we see that a farmer has two choices. The first choice is to keep the seed that he uses for his daily bread in his hand. When he does this, he is placing his trust in something tangible. He can see it, touch it, and taste it. It makes him feel safe, comfortable, and secure. The choice to keep his hand closed, displays his fear of letting go. Ultimately it is his fear that produces scarcity in the future and causes him to miss out on the harvest.
The second choice is to open his hand, letting go of the seed, placing it in the dirt, and trusting that God will provide his future needs. He can’t yet see or touch the crops, but he has faith that they will come. Opening his hand and letting go of what he currently has is what brings abundance in the future. It results in him receiving everything he will need and produces a harvest of generosity.
This is an excellent illustration of how we can choose to live our lives. We can live with open hands and an open heart that trusts God, or we can live life with closed hands and a closed heart trusting in that which we are holding onto to provide for our needs. How we decide to live, open-handed or closed-handed, will determine the direction of our life, because our capacity to receive depends upon our willingness to open our hands.
God has so much that he wants to give to us and do through us. If we will open our hands and trust him with our hearts, then we can stop living in fear and start living freely. Free to know him, free to be who he intended us to be, free to be generous and free to make an eternal difference in the lives of others.
Do you live your life open-handed or closed-handed?
Do you believe God is worthy of your open hand?
What are you afraid of that might prevent you from living your life more open-handed?
Make a list of all the areas in your life where you are living open-handed and closed-handed. Pick one area where you are more closed-handed and write out a possible next step that will move you toward trusting God.
Dear Father, thank you for all that you are providing me with in my life. Please give me the wisdom and strength to open my hands and keep them open to show you my trust in you and to receive what you have intended for me. Please use my open hands to serve others and make an eternal difference in their lives. Amen.
This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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