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October 18, 2020 | Doug Sauder
Watch our most recent mid-week message here.
“This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.”—2 Corinthians 9:10–11 (MSG)
So how do we put everything we’ve learned this week into practice? How do we apply these qualities of God into our daily lives?
Truthfully, it’s a one-day-at-a-time process! There is no overnight formula to walking in generosity. Think of a total physical body transformation, the kind you see on TV shows where someone transforms from being an unhealthy, unmotivated, overweight individual to the picture of health. It takes a long time, a ton of work, and even more willpower and resolve. Any miracle pill or procedure that promises instant results and quick fixes is doomed to fail. Only a long-term commitment to the process of transformation—and a great deal of endurance and perseverance—will lead to the desired results.
The same is true of spiritual growth and inward transformation. Becoming Christ-like doesn’t happen overnight. There is a difference between justification and sanctification. Justification is instant; it happens the moment we believe Jesus is who He says He is, repent of our sins, and receive Him as Lord. In that moment, we are forgiven and free from the power of sin and the penalty of death. In that moment, the Holy Spirit indwells us. In that moment, we are redeemed and saved by the amazing grace of our God.
Sanctification is different. It’s a lifelong process by which we are daily conformed into the image of Christ. It begins with our justification and continues on until we depart from this world or until the day Christ Jesus returns (Philippians 1:6). It’s a process of transformation that never ends (Philippians 3:12–14). It requires our daily participation (1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:3) and daily surrender to the work of the Spirit in us (Matthew 16:24–25; 1 Corinthians 15:58). It necessitates walking with the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25) and perseverance (Romans 15:5; Colossians 1:11; Hebrews 10:36; James 1:25).
The good news is that we’re not alone in this process. As we saw yesterday, we have the Holy Spirit in us, guiding, leading, strengthening, challenging, convicting, moving, and interceding for us. It’s His job to change us from the inside out, sanctifying us every day. Our job is to engage with the Lord, to seek Him daily, to spend time with Him, lean into Him, listen to Him through His Word and prayer, and follow after Him. When we do that, when we honestly and earnestly seek Him, when we empty ourselves and ask Him to fill us each day, He will!
If we want to learn to be generous, to respond to the generosity of our Lord and live it out for all to see, then we should commit to live to give. Let’s commit to model the generosity of God so others may grow strong in God. Let’s commit to draw closer to Christ and be more deeply conformed to His image each day, to glorify Him, and to be used by the Spirit so we can draw others to Him!
Over the next three weeks, we’re going to see what that looks like practically in our relationships, with our time, and with our talents and resources. Are you ready for the journey?