Week Three: Give

The only way to love God… is to give to people. Love for Him has to turn into giving, or it was never love.

Ann Voskamp, A Broken Way

Reflection Scripture: Give

And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Acts 20:35b NKJV

 Day 1: Bought at a Price

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV

Stacy says:

I was raised in a home where everyone was required to take responsibility for their own actions. If you messed up, even by accident, you endured the consequences. It is not a bad teaching, but somewhere along the way I missed the message of grace.

Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. –Jesus

The words Jesus spoke from His agony on the cross, in the midst of paying the price for me, were words of grace. Funny how one sentence can still leave me speechless. Because what more is there to say? Jesus paid the price, so I wouldn’t have to. When He asked the Father to forgive them He asked for me too.

His death was and is the consequence of my sin. He took the responsibility for my not knowing. And there is nothing I can do in response except give myself back to Him. There is no other story like this, no god who whispers grace instead of wrath.

I’m forever captured by His grace. I’m a slave to it… in my thoughts and actions and living. It is a miracle in itself to be enslaved to Grace and experience the freedom of it.

Carol says:

When did I recognize I was no longer my own?

When thoughts would come to mind I would never think. Pressings to do things I would never do. Reasons to argue with what came from within me.

Clearly something else had come to take ownership. Choosing to let this new Owner lead and rule was the result of my surrender.

give verb 1: to make a present of 2a: to grant or bestow by formal action b: to accord or yield to another 3a: to put into the possession of another for his or her use… c: to commit to another as a trust or responsibility and usually for an expressed reason d: to transfer from one’s authority or custody

─ Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th Ed.)

God is the original Giver. He created to give us life and a home – a lavish, infinite ecosystem. We have nothing which He has not given us. Through Adam and Eve, He gave mankind authority over His creation (Genesis 1-2).

However, in the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve gave away our authority in the world to Satan by obeying him rather than God (Genesis 3). Since then, every person is born enslaved to sin and subject to death.

Read Romans 6:16

What are we, according to this verse?

What choices do we have when it comes to obedience?

We are slaves. Merriam-Webster’s defines a slave as “one that is completely subservient to a dominating influence.” Never were we intended to be our own masters, make our own rules, or be independent of an ultimate authority. At the Fall, we rejected God as Lord and became slaves of sin which leads to death.

Slaves are owned by their master. They are bought and sold to transfer ownership. Something given in return for their lives.

Read Psalm 49:7-9

What does this verse say about the cost of ransoming a man from death?

Read 1Timothy 2:5-6

Who is the mediator between God and men?

What did He do?

Jesus – fully man, fully God, God’s Son – gave Himself to free His people. The price was too high for us to ransom ourselves. No mere mortal can save anyone from seeing the pit of death. He came to pay the price for our sins. An infinite cost.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven making peace by the blood of his cross.

Colossians 1:19-20 ESV

Only God in the flesh can pay the price to free a man from slavery to sin and death.

We are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. But ironically, Jesus paid the price to set men free, not to enslave us in the same manner as sin, through condemnation, lies, and shame. To be owned by God, slaves to righteousness, is freedom. He came to set us free, not manipulate us.

Read Galatians 2:20

Where were Believers when Christ was crucified?

What happens to Believers through Christ’s crucifixion? Whose life do we live?

Why did He give Himself for you?

God so loves, He sent His Son to die for our sins. In His grace and mercy, He allows Jesus to take our place on the cross. In the spiritual realm, when we are born again, we die to our flesh and begin to live life by the Spirit, which is God in us.

For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Romans 8:2-4 ESV

The law of the Spirit of life has set us free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Through Christ, God did what we could not. To set us free, Jesus took our place on the cross, bore our sins and was condemned for what we did.

Read Galatians 5:13-14

How are we called to use our freedom?

God’s law is all about love. He is love. The attribute of love makes Him the great Giver He is. God does not use the forces of condemnation or coercion to make His people give Him their lives. The dominating influence God wields to move Believers to subservience is His great unfailing love. Receiving His free gift of grace – one we didn’t ask for or know we needed – moves us to give our lives and all He’s given us to Him, because of His overwhelming love seen on the cross.

He paid a high price to buy us back from Satan. He gave His only Son (John 3:16), who gave His life to give us life. We were bought at a great price, not to be ruled over by a taskmaster, but to be loved as the Father loves the Son.

We are not our own. In Christ, we have been bought at a price. A price which sweeps us off our feet and moves us to freely give Him all we have freely received.

Talk It Out

Talk it over with yourself:

Do you believe you are a slave no matter what you choose? Why or why not?

How do you feel about being bought at an infinitely high cost? Do you see His great love for you on the cross? Does it move you to give? Explain.

Talk it over with God:

Thank God for paying the price to free you from slavery to sin and death. Ask Him to help you understand what it means to be His. Ask Him to sweep you off your feet with His unfailing love for you.

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. …”

Isaiah 43:1 NLT

Exercise Your Faith

Give:

Today, give yourself to God. Take the step of faith to surrender your life to Him to use as He pleases.

Reflection Scripture:

This week our Reflection Scripture is short and concise. Sometimes when we read and ponder a short Scripture over and over, emphasizing different words brings out more depth and meaning. The meaning has always been there, only we tend to look at things the same way, through the same eyes, from the same perspective. Highlighting something different reveals a new aspect.

Each day this week a word in the Scripture will be bold face. Say the Scripture emphasizing the bold word. Say it out loud. Say it more than once, over and over, emphasizing the selected word.

You might even look up the definition of the highlighted word in a dictionary to see what it adds to the meaning.

And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Acts 20:35b NKJV

What thoughts come to mind as you emphasize the word remember?

Is the Spirit prompting you to remember something? someone?

Do you find yourself remembering what Jesus gave for you? What is your response?

[Feature Image Photo seen on blog by Ben White on Unsplash]

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