Recall: As you have been given, so give to others. Pay It Forward.
Let’s just take some time to remember a couple of points we talked about the last time around. I think this is necessary considering that we didn’t see each other last week.
Remember that we went through the Old Testament, and what it says, specifically in Proverbs 11:24, would have us thinking the following:
The more you give, the more you get.
The more you keep, the more you lose.
In other words, the more we try to hold on to something, the more we are likely to lose it, but the more we try to give something away, the more we get back. It sounds familiar, because we see in Matthew 10:39, that Jesus mentioned – ‘Whoever would save their life would lose it, and whoever loses his life would preserve it.’
I’m not going to have you dwell on this particular flow of thinking – instead, just as we did the last time we talked, I would have you focus on something else. Remember we also read 2 Corinthians 9:5-10. Verse 10 in particular states the following:
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
I won’t have you focused on what you ought to be giving, and what you ought to be keeping, because there’s something a whole lot better for you to celebrate – that is, that God, through Christ, is the One who gives to you. If you focus only on what you have, then you would find yourself getting drained. But if you remember that Christ paid such a great price for God, who is the great Provider, to be on your side, then you would naturally have a mind and heart that is willing to give.
In other words: The more you got, the more you give.
I also asked you guys, what has God given you in so much abundance that you can give to help others? Did you have experience? Do you have extra resources? I asked you to pray for God to confirm what you have, and if you haven’t prayed, well, just know that I’m always praying for you guys.
Today we move on to the second point I have in this series I’ve entitled, Pay It Forward:
As you have been loved, so love others. Pay It Forward.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (KJV)
So let me at this time give you guys an idea or a picture of what was going on here. The people that made up what we now call the nation of Israel were once in bondage, slaves under the nation of Egypt. God rescued them from the Egyptians by way of the plagues – and the final plague, which was the death of the first-born, was what finally pushed Pharaoh over the edge; He not only allowed, but begged for the Israelites to leave their country.
The people crossed the Red Sea, which God also parted, and, being full of themselves, without giving top priority to the goodness and the grace of God, they told Him, ‘All that You would command, we shall do.’ And so the rest of the book of Exodus, plus the book of Leviticus and Numbers and Deuteronomy – they were all full of the commands God had for them, what we know now as the Old Covenant. And it all culminated in Deuteronomy 6:4-7, which we read earlier.
So if you guys were Israelites who were born during the time of Moses, you’re under this set of verses, which state (1) You shall love the Lord with all of your being, and (2) you should tell your kids to do the same thing.
And okay. I know there’s a legitimate concern here. We aren’t Israelites. We aren’t under this Law. But here’s the thing. We aren’t necessarily free of what this Law asks for. It doesn’t matter what religion you hear, it all points towards the same thing: Express your love to yourself and to others, to the Universe or to whatever god there may be, by way of giving all that you are, singing perfectly, performing the best, obeying to the best of your abilities; and naturally, if you’re subscribed to this sort of belief system, then you naturally pass this on, not only to your children, but to everyone else who sees you and is therefore influenced by you, even if it is by a little bit.
So whether you are an Jew or not, the system the world would have us subscribe to goes as follows: (1) Give it all you’ve got, and (2) pass it on.
Sounds like a legit thing, right? Unfortunately, given enough time, you’ll find out that it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Failure Then, Failure Now
Let’s go back to Israel, and let’s fast forward to generations later. The Israelites tried their best to establish themselves as authority over the land God had promised them. Unfortunately they were not fully successful, and as such, they suffered the consequences of invasion and oppression; the tribes that remained would be a menace to the nation from the inside, and their neighbors would also try to overthrow them and take the land and its resources for themselves.
And God would help them by way of raising people to rescue them out of their plight. This is why there were Judges, as mentioned in the book of Judges, and then there were Kings, as mentioned in the books of 1 and 2 Kings. Throughout all this time, they were under the Old Covenant, and up towards the time of the prophet Isaiah, they were telling themselves and their children: Love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, and all your might. It was this time when God dropped a bomb on them:
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
And this is the bad news for them, which is actually also for us today: You can try to love God on your own, but it’ll never be enough. You can try to love, and you will always find yourself wanting.
See, I held off on saying another main point of the Old Covenant: If you obey, then you are blessed, but if you disobey, then you are cursed. And if you see what’s been going on with Israel ever since they first received the Law, well, you’ll see a rollercoaster of events, where they were blessed, then cursed, then blessed… And again, it’s the same thing with us. If you try to love God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, you’ll find that you can’t do it all the time. You’re going to make a mistake.
And it’s not like the Law is forgiving. See, the Law is God’s standard of perfection. It’s not a set of guidelines for us to follow, and it’d be okay if we fell short of a few of the regulations; Simply put, if we fail at one aspect, we fall short of the entire Law, and therefore, are deserving of curse.
You can try to love God on your own, but it’ll never be enough.
But the thing is, in the fullness of time, Christ was born, and He did two things: He fulfilled (and ended) the Law and the Old Covenant by way of laying down His life to take all the punishment and curse we deserved, and He established a New Covenant by coming back to life, essentially proving that the righteousness that He had which He gave to us leads to resurrection and eternal life.
And that’s the good news. God loves you with all His heart, with all His soul, and with all His might.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10 (KJV)
If, back in the Old Covenant, God’s love for you was dependent on your own performance, and your own obedience, today, because Christ established the New Covenant by way of His birth, death, resurrection and ascension, you can rest assured that you are absolutely loved by God. I was going to say unconditionally loved by God, but here’s the thing: Christ satisfied the condition of the Old Covenant, so something had to be done… but on the other hand, it was Christ who gave everything and gave everything, and all we do is to believe it.
We’re set free from the anxiety of doing our best and doing what’s right in order for us to be blessed and in order for us to be loved by God; On the flip side, because Christ gave His best and did what was right, we have been brought into the love of God, and the love of God has been birthed inside of us… Once we did things to be loved, and now we are loved, so we are able to do things!
If you try to love God, you would be drained. But if you take in the Truth that God loves you, you would be overflowing. Christ knew this, which is why He gave us an idea of where to put that overflowing love:
Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
John 13:33-35 (KJV)
This world needs a blessing. This world needs to be freed from curse. And we would hit both by way of loving the world. But the Truth is, you can’t love on your own. You’re going to fail, and you’re going to fall short. And even in those moments you may think you succeed, the benefits of your actions would eventually fade into nothingness, over enough time.
But the thing is, when you recognize that you aren’t able to love on your lonesome, and when you take in the Truth that God loves you, then you would be able to love with a genuine love. God loves you with an everlasting love, and so you are able to love the same way – and it’s important for you to understand that it is an everlasting love, which means that all that you do coming from the same love has its own everlasting implications. And this is a love that inspires you to love, even those who don’t deserve it.
So indeed, as you have been loved, so love others.
Pay It Forward.
Now I’m not about to tell you to think of who you should be loving, but I want you guys to take some time over the weekend to do some thinking.
God loved you so much that He gave His only begotten Son.
Let Him embrace you and remind you of His love for you.
Before you even think of loving anyone else, why don’t you give a moment to realize how God loves you, specifically? Let’s take that in, and see where that takes us, yeah?
God bless you.
Not merely those who are lovable in your eyes, but you show love to everyone else. And it’s not necessarily the love they expect, but surely the best you can give.
I’ve spent too much time on this, and I’m not sure I could even condense it so it’s ready for the kids. I apologize, because my word quota was more of a priority here than the actual kids, and I intend to work on this outside of this drivel, so I’m ready for tomorrow.
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