I regularly hear some Christian leaders say, “We live in a self-centered, narcissistic age and that has to be driven out of the church. All anyone thinks about is ‘what’s in it for me. That is not how Jesus thought and we should not think that way either.”
I agree that we should not be self-centered or just think about “what’s in it for me.” Jesus did come and demonstrated the most incredible self-sacrificial love in the history of the world and He does call us to follow His example. HOWEVER….
One of the reasons so many, even in the church, are constantly thinking about themselves and how to live better lives is that they realize that there should be more to life and faith that what they are currently experiencing. The Bible is very clear that Jesus came to give us “the life” that sin and Satan has stolen from us. (John 10:10 and the entire Gospels).
We are created in the image of God. Our loving Heavenly Father designed us to carry the same quality of life that He Himself has. (2 Peter 1:3-4) We might not be able to verbalize it or precisely describe what we are looking for, but we know there has got to be more to life and faith than this.
When your body is malnourished it craves the nutrients it is missing. That is why many overweight people are actually malnourished. They have not been eating what their body was designed for so they stay hungry and keep trying to satisfy that hunger with increasing amounts fattening, unhealthy foods. They keep eating because their body is not getting what it needs and what it is designed to consume. Studies show that when people eat good healthy food, they do not eat as much because the body is being nourished.
Our soul is similar. One of the reasons people keep focusing on themselves is because they are malnourished or starving spiritually. They are made for God and the life He gives. Until they connect with Him and ALSO receive from Him they will keep thinking mainly of themselves and continue “eating” things that are not good for them and do not really satisfy.
To Give You Must First Have
One of the reasons Jesus could fully focus on serving others is because His soul was completely full of the life of God. We are all full of something (ha, ha) and Jesus was completely full of the love, faith, hope, wisdom, and power of God.
And He stayed full by continuing in constant fellowship and relationship with the Father so the pipeline of divine life flowed into Him and out of Him in never before seen levels of love and power. And yes, Jesus is our model and example of the highest level of life possible in this age.
No doubt about it, Jesus did give and give and give and He calls all of His followers to be cheerful, generous, continuous givers as well. He wants the whole world to receive abundant, eternal life because He absolutely loves the people in it.
But to give you must first have.
You cannot give a hungry man food unless you have food. You cannot give love, unless you have love. You cannot give the life of God unless you have the life of God. That is why it is so important to learn to receive the benefits God wants us to have.
God does not want to bless you just so you can bless others. He wants to bless you and fill you because He loves you. More than any human parent, the Heavenly Father wants all of His children to experience love and life to the max. Then, out of receiving, you gladly and willingly share with others.
I believe learning to continually receive from God is one of the most important lessons of life. Receive and give, receive and give is God’s way to live!
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