Question for you: Are you trying to be a Christian today, or are you training to be a Jesus follower today?
We’re in the midst of a sermon series entitled “The Practice” wherein we are looking at five different practices that enable us to live a Christ-centered, Spirit-filled life. Spiritual training is very much like physical training. There is a percentage of the spiritual life and spiritual journey that is mental. But there is also a significant component of a spiritual life that involves practice.
To try to live as Jesus commands us to live but to fail to rely upon the power of God at work in us through the Holy Spirit is an exercise in frustration. We might as well try to run a marathon without ever having trained for it. If we are going to live the Christian life, we must access the power of God in our lives. You simply cannot do this through your own efforts and energies. And neither can I.
On Sunday morning we examined the spiritual discipline of giving. In First Corinthians 16: 1-3, the Apostle Paul identified Sunday as the day to give. This is because giving is an act of worship, because giving is a priority for Christians, because giving is connected to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and giving is a powerful spiritual catalyst.
In giving ourselves and our very lives away, just as Jesus did, we find more than we ever could have had by clinging to them. Jesus gives his life away, but he gets it back in the resurrection, far better and greater.
And the same dynamic is at work financially. If you try to hoard what you have, greed will wreck your soul and death will take your money. But if you give it away, it seems like you are losing it, but actually, it will bear fruit. When you give financially, what you give not only bears fruit in the impact made upon the world, but in the impact giving makes upon you.
On Sunday morning we put into practice the spiritual discipline of giving as we brought forward in worship our financial commitments to the ministry of the Gospel at First Pres for the coming year. If you were not with us on Sunday, I want to invite you to be thoughtful about your financial decisions in the coming year and make a plan to be generous with what God has entrusted to you.
When we give to the work of the Kingdom of God in the world, God is at work not only through us, but in us, to grow and mature us in our journey of faith.
Grateful to be journeying and growing alongside you all,