Imitate the Great Giver
Written by Bill Bradford
In the opening chapters of the Bible it becomes apparent there are two ways of life – the "give" way and the "get" way. This powerful theme is followed through in the rest of the Bible -- in the Words of God, in the words and examples of His servants. We see the opposite of the "give" way -- the "get" way -- in the lives of those who lived in disobedience to God and reaped the consequence of the devil's way.
When God calls us He draws us to His way of life in a very ingenious way. He demonstrated the "give" way to us in the most convincing way He could. He "gave" His only begotten Son, that "whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
The greatest gift from God was sending His Son as propitiation for our sin. He died in our stead and took the ultimate penalty of our sin in Himself. In doing this He demonstrated how great is His love, (for God so loved the world). There is no greater love than this, Jesus would say, than for one to lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). Later, He gave His people the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is essentially the mind of Christ that infuses us with this new way of life.
God is the great giver. This is the best way and perhaps the only way to really teach us the "give" way of life. He does it to us first, without requiring that it be returned. There is no trade here. He simply does it out of, in this case, the deepest love that one can have for others.
The devil's way is to "get" for himself. He even became violent, the Bible tells us, to have his own way -- a way that, in his own demented way of thinking, would make him the most powerful being in the universe. It's not hard to see that because of the violence in the world that man has followed the "get" way. Those who are best at perpetrating violence falsely believe they will be the most powerful. The interest of others is not a part of their thinking.
The "get" philosophy will have terrible consequences. Jesus understood that the devil's way of life would mean the end of existence of humanity and was able to confidently predict such an end if He did not intervene (Matthew 24:22).
The mind of Christ is described in this striking way: "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves." This wonderful way of life is expressed further: "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil 2:3-5).
When we turn to God, we turn to His way of life. The example has already been given. Christ also said we are to "love others as ourselves." God indeed is the giver, and He will make it possible for us to assist others. But we have to be convinced that His way of "give" is the best way for us -- and others. Sometimes it takes sacrifice. In fact, it always takes sacrifice. We deny ourselves to do for others. The Bible discusses many principles about this way of life. We must be wise in what we are able to do, and all must be done in measure.
We live in a dangerous world and, as time goes on, we will become more and more vulnerable. There will be greater needs and our efforts will be needed in a variety of ways. We know God will provide a way for us as we pursue the "give" way.
For more information about how you can transform your life from the 'Get' way to the 'Give' way request one of the Bible study aid below.
Transforming Your Life The Process of Conversion
In this booklet we will examine the Bible's teaching on conversion—it is not just a one-time event. Instead the Scriptures reveal that it is a process. The process begins with God's calling, followed by the key steps of repentance, baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit, finally climaxing with the return of Jesus Christ — when the dead in Christ are resurrected to immortality and given eternal life — the ultimate transformation!
Lesson 11 Christianity: A Way of Life
Is it acceptable to believe we are free to worship God as we wish, to refashion God in our own image? Or has God revealed an approach to life that He expects us to follow? Does it make any difference in the relationship we are supposed to have with Him? In this lesson we examine the answers to these questions and more from the Scriptures.