Free To Give!

7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 2 Cor. 8:7-9

Giving away our finances and our material wealth is one of the ways that we serve God. The devil therefore works hard to bind us in this area. According to this scripture, to find yourself free in the area of finances and giving as our Lord Jesus Christ was is an incredible grace. Indeed, this is an unbelievable scripture. That a believer can “abound” in everything else – “in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us” – and yet not be free in the area of financial giving! This talks of the power of money upon the human spirit.

The area of giving, for most believers, is where “the rubber meets the road”. The human heart is so bound up with money that to find oneself free in the area of finances is true freedom indeed! He who is free from the power of money is free in nearly every area of his spiritual life. Just imagine how rich the Corinthians were in all these other areas; and yet, in this single area, it is clear they were woefully lacking.

The Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10). According to Galatians 5, evil is “… adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings” (Gal. 5:19-21).

Nearly all these things are rooted in money.

Elsewhere, scripture also says:

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Mat. 6:24).

The word “mammon” means money, wealth or worldly possessions. Mammon is so powerful that the Bible equates it with God! Mammon is the god of this world.

But notice the Bible says that we cannot serve God and mammon. It is clear, therefore, that we as believers need to be set free from the power of this force or god, mammon. In other words, we need to be set free from the power of the love of money! We are to be free in our spirits with regard to finances in every area, including in our giving. That is the only way to serve God.

That was why Jesus said of the poor widow who put in two cents in the offering box, that she had given more than everyone else (Mk. 12:42-44). This old lady was so free she gave away all her “living”.

Do you think she was grieving and telling God, “God, I am planting a seed so that you might bless me a hundedfold”?

Hardly. Had she said that in her heart, Jesus would not have said those words about her. But Jesus spoke about her because in her heart she was free from the power of money. Although she was poor, yet she was the richest person in the temple. She was so rich she could give all her living for the gospel’s sake.

“For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”

The heart of this old widow was the heart of Christ. Free.

Had this widow died from hunger, she would have died gladly. She would not have been sorrowful about her condition.

Our love for money is a subject that we tiptoe about, simply because we do not want to offend the flesh. It is the flesh that is bound up with money, not the spirit. The spirit of the born-again believer yearns to be set free from the power of money.

Finally, let us consider verse 9:

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

This is a verse that has become the bane of the church because carnal-minded preachers and believers use it for their own gain. They say, “Jesus became poor that we may inherit the wealth of this world.”

But this scripture is not even talking about that! Jesus did not become poor so that we might inherit worldly possessions for the simple reason that God’s Kingdom is spiritual. You will not find the dollar sign in heaven.

So what is the meaning of this scripture?

The Apostle Paul here is trying to show the Corinthians how free our Lord was in the area of finances. Christ did not serve mammon. He served God. That was how He could afford to become poor.  You do not become poor simply because you have decided to become poor. You become poor because a work of God has occurred in your heart and God has set you free.

And notice Jesus did not become poor for poverty’s sake. Jesus became poor that through His poverty we might be rich.

But, anyways, let us give the benefit of doubt to those who claim that this scripture is talking about Jesus sacrificing His worldly riches so that we might become financially and materially rich. This argument gets instantly killed by the fact that the Bible also tells us to become Christ’s disciples, to follow Christ’s example and manner of life. How about we follow Christ’s example in not just becoming rich, but also in becoming poor that through our poverty others might become rich? That would require  we go and sell all that we have and give to the poor! Incidentally, that was exactly what Jesus told the rich young ruler. And just like the rich young ruler, I am sure not many who follow this line would obey Christ’s command to go sell all.

The love of money is the root cause of all evil. We, being innately evil, have not the faintest chance of defeating this god, mammon. If we have been born again, we can only thank God for having delivered us from the power of darkness. Hallelujah to that! And to thank Him exceedingly for the Holy Spirit who, through the power of the cross, will fully conquer this most subtle and menacing of all our enemies, the love of money in our hearts as we willingly surrender our wills to Him.

The cross is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18).

[Below: God was so rich He gave us His Son Jesus Christ!]

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Money And The Crucified Life

23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Mat. 10:23-25
Most rich people won’t go to heaven. That’s a Biblical fact and there is no need to burst a pressure nerve over such a statement. Jesus Himself said it, so we better believe it.
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”, He said.
I have read many research papers on this scripture, people turning every tiny leaf to see what Heaven could possibly have meant by such an impossible declaration. Some people even take hundreds of hours studying the historical aspects of the camel!
Jesus’ words are so hard, and many times people find it extremely difficult to take them at face value!
But how about we just take that scripture just as it is written there? How about we don’t add or remove anything from those words?
In any case, what are we trying to accomplish by skirting around these words exactly as they are put forth? Persecution? Yes, there is definitely some form of suffering involved when you touch on people and their love for the things of this world. The flesh is bound up with the things of this world.
If Jesus said it is hard for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God, let’s believe it, it is hard.
What does it mean to be rich, anyway? It means to possess things, the things of this world. Have you ever wondered why many rich people are rich, in the first place? It is because their hearts are bound up with the things that they possess! They love the things of this world. Were their hearts not set on those things, were their hearts set fully on God’s spiritual Kingdom, they would sell all they had and give the proceeds thereof to the poor. In other words, a man who has the wherewithal to make wealth in this world ought to be a recycling plant for God’s wealth, distributing the proceeds thereof to alleviate the suffering of the poor, both in and outside of the church.
That’s another hard-to-swallow fact, but it is there in the Bible. We can only deny it at our own peril. Alternatively, we can accept it and begin to align our lives with its requirements by the power of the Holy Spirit in us.
But does Jesus’ words in Mark 10:23-25 mean we are not to be rich? Is He suggesting it is a sin to be rich? By no means!
If a rich man can handle the wealth of this world at arms’ length and allow it not to go into his heart, may the Name of the Lord be praised for such a man. The Bible says that Jesus Himself was a rich Man, but He became poor that we might be rich. Philippians 3 also tells that the Apostle Paul suffered the loss of all things. Apart from the things that he mentions, Paul probably was an heir to a rich earthly inheritance, who knows?
A rich man who can bear to let go is the only rich man who can live for God’s purpose. Such is the only rich man who will enter into the Kingdom of God.
The singular reason many rich people will therefore not enter into heaven is because they have a love for things; they love the world, and the things in it. As we earlier noted, that is why many are rich in the first place. They love to possess things.
The Apostle John said that if we love the world and the things that are in it, the love for the Father is not in us (1 Jn. 2:15).
Wealth is more likely to corrupt a man or woman of God than to make them more God-like. Remember, wealth is a god (Mat. 6:24). Worldly wealth (or mammon) is the god of this world. That means it has power. That is why every man in the world is born running after that all-important hard currency, and the things of this world. The men and women of the world are under the power of mammon right from birth.
That is why we need a revelation of the cross. At the cross we can crucify the flesh, and neither money, nor wealth, nor anything of this world will have any power over us. You could own a worldly conglomerate, and it would have no power over you. On the other hand, you could own nothing and yet in your heart you are richer than the richest man on earth.
If two such men met, they would meet on level ground; none would feel more or less important than the other. It would be a fellowship where the Spirit of God ruled supreme.
The bottom line is that when we are walking that thin line of wealth, we better make sure our flesh is firmly nailed on the cross.
It is the same with women. To a man, a woman is fire! It is safer for a man to distance himself from women than to be near them and to commit fornication. The Apostle Paul says: “It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (1 Cor. 7:1) .
But, again, blessed is the man who has control over his carnal vessels and who can interact freely with members of the opposite sex and be of benefit to them in the Spirit. This speaks of someone who has crucified their flesh. This is far more desirable in the Spirit than running away from women.
Jesus lived freely with many women, some who even ministered to Him with their wealth (Luke 8:3). But Jesus did not “touch” any woman in the wrong sense. That does not mean that He did not touch them physically. He surely must have touched them as He ministered to them; He must have embraced them out of the Godly love that He had for them. I am sure there was a lot of physical interaction between Jesus and these women, especially considering the fact that Jesus was a Man who was free in His spirit. But it would not even have crossed His mind to think of them in a sensual manner.
Jesus was a man who had crucified His flesh long even before He bore the cross for us.
It was the same with the apostles. There was not a whiff of sexual irresponsibility with these men. They were men whose lives were crucified with Christ.
There are many religions in the world today and invariably the first thing you hear about them is how the top “guru” is taking all the women he desires from his flock for his wives. That is the spirit of the world.
Unfortunately, this worldly spirit has penetrated into the church of Christ. True, there are a few men of God who have crucified their flesh; but a large majority of preachers and church leaders are using their positions to do many bad things with the women in their churches. The spirit of the world – the old man of the flesh – has total control over these men.
If these men cannot rein in their lusts and crucify them, they will not enter into the Kingdom of God. And nor, sadly, will the women with whom they are sleeping around, saved or not. It is as simple as that.

[Below: A lone Nyaturu homestead sits in the bush in Central Tanzania. Here hyenas roam freely at night and even during the daytime]

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