Are you a giver or a taker? In tough economic times, we tend to be selfish with our resources. Dr. Stanley shares with us the truth behind the principle Jesus showed us here on earth, "God blesses us so that we might bless others." Jesus stressed that caring for the needs of others was more important than storing wealth for our own use. Will you freely share the blessings God has given you, trusting Him to provide for all of your needs?
How would you complete the following three statements?
- God saved me because _________________.
- God’s purpose for me is _______________.
- I am most like Jesus when I ________________.
This little quiz is not to put you on the spot, but it is to set the proper framework for this life principle:
1. God saved me because He loves me.
The sole reason God sent His Son to this world to die for our sins was because He loved us. When we acknowledge our sin and need for a Savior, He forgives us, grants us eternal life, and gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit out of His immeasurable love and grace. There is no other reason.
Many people seem to believe that God saves a man or woman because of the person’s good works or service. Nothing could be further from the truth. No amount or type of service can earn salvation. The apostle Paul made this very clear when he wrote: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). Even the faith by which we believe that God forgives us and saves us is a divine gift that flows from His love!
This point is critical to understand. Any good we do is in response to God’s gifts of salvation, eternal life, and the Holy Spirit—never in order to earn, win, or warrant salvation.
2. God’s purpose for me is to bring Him glory.
God saved you and me so that we would serve as examples to others of His love and mercy at work in and through a human life.
Many people seem to think the only reason for salvation is so that a person will go to heaven when he dies. Eternal life is part of God’s plan of forgiveness, but that is not the sole reason for our salvation. God saved us so that we each might reflect His nature—that we might be His people on this earth, doing the kinds of works that Jesus Himself would do if He were walking in our shoes, through our world, during our lifetime. He desires to manifest His character through our personalities and giftedness.
When we allow His Holy Spirit to work in us and through us to others, we become vessels of His love in action. We begin to reflect His compassion, love, and mercy to others. And in so doing, we become His witnesses. We bring credit, honor, and glory to Him.
3. I am most like Jesus when I serve others.
The foremost characteristic of the life of Jesus Christ was and is service. We are most like Him when we serve as He served.
Many seem to think that a person is most like Jesus when he preaches like Jesus preached, teaches like Jesus taught, heals like Jesus healed, or performs miracles like Jesus performed miracles. They look only at the outward manifestation of a person’s witness and ministry.
They need to look beyond the outer manifestation to the motivation for Jesus’ life. That motivation was always love. Jesus preached, taught, healed, and performed miracles in order to help others, never to call attention to Himself. He poured out His very life so that others might be saved. Paul wrote, “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
God calls us to serve one another just as Jesus did. He didn’t save you or call you to service so that you might be exalted, praised, glorified, or put on a pedestal. He saved you so you could serve Him and others. When we do this, we honor Him with our lives. The most important thing you can do outside of accepting Christ as your Savior is to give your life to Him and allow Him to lead you each day.
Some mistakenly think that what we do is unimportant to God, but this is far from true. He has a plan for each one of us. When we make a decision to walk by faith, He will reveal it to us. And that plan always includes service and dedication to Him and to those He brings into our lives.
God loved us so that we might love others. He blesses us so that we might bless others. That’s what the Christian life is all about.
Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.
This post is a part of the series Life Principles to Live By.