There has been a lot of talk about goal setting, living with intention and approaching the New Year with grace. It’s never too late to really think through your purpose, mission, priorities and even goals.
Today as we continue thinking about how to approach goal setting, I’m pleased to introduce to you Heather as she shares great wisdom on giving generously in the New Year.
A guest post by Heather of My Overflowing Cup
There is a lot of talk about “one word 2015″ in the blogging world.
The idea is that instead of setting goals for the year, we focus on one word that drives our thoughts, motivations, and actions.
Maybe we should all consider generosity to be our word?
The other day I shared 3 Things God is Promising Us This Year. In that post, I shared about Louie Giglio’s New Year 2-part message. That was the first part, and today I bring you the second part. (You can click over to read that post, or you can just continue here. These messages do stand alone.)
I love that with all of his training and experience, Louie Giglio admits that he doesn’t fully comprehend the mystery of how God is in control of all things, and yet man has free will.
What he does know is that “God is sovereign and we are invited to participate in his plans.”
It’s the sovereignty of God and the responsive choice of people all fitting into one space. –Louie Giglio
He uses Romans 12 to illustrate his teaching that it is our “reasonable service” to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.”
This, Louie Giglio reminds us, should be the mindset with which we enter into this New Year.
He presents us with 4 challenges:
1. To think who we want to be.
Who do we want to be this year?
Louie reminds us that we are a society of people who no longer take the time to think. As a result of social media, we tend to react instantaneously rather than taking the time to ponder our thoughts before we shoot them out to the entire world.
On the other hand, God thinks not only about us but about whom He desires us to be. We should be thinking about who God wants us to be before we begin thinking about who it is that we want to be.
Proverbs 23:7 teaches us that as a man thinks in his heart, he is. “Our thinking trickles down into who we become.”
This is why it is so important that we take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). We will all become captive to something. Will it be the lies of the world or the truth of our God?
Whatever it is, it begins with our thinking. This is why Philippians 4:8 reminds us to think about things that are: true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. These are the things on which we should be meditating and on these alone.
Hence the reminder of Romans 12:2:
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” –Romans 12:2
This renewing of the mind isn’t something that comes automatically upon salvation, but something that requires dedication and effort. Are we willing to bring this intention into the New Year with us?
2. To trust God with our dreams by surrendering and submitting them to Him.
Philippians 4:6 reminds us to rejoice in the Lord always, knowing that He is near us. It goes on to say:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:6-7
It is in this rejoicing and thanksgiving that we find the peace of God. By not only coming to Him in prayer but desiring to live in His will, our hearts and minds are guarded in Him. “This chips away at our anxieties and stress when we give our dreams to Him.” We never need fear giving our dreams to Him because when they are in line with His will, He will see them come to pass.
I wrote about this subject in depth in this post: Dreams, Goals, and God’s Will.
3. To work as if God is right beside us.
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” –Colossians 3:23
Louie shares his conviction that being successful in life is 1% vision and 99% hard work and perseverance, as he comically recalls his experience as a young man working in a copy room with Jesus right beside him.
He reminds us that “nothing great happens without great sacrifice and effort” and that “the size of the task He has given us isn’t what matters”, but rather our obedience.
4. To give everything we can give of who we are.
You see, “everything trickles down from God. We work with our minds and with our hands to earn money” and yet it is God who has given us, not only our physical bodies, but our skills, our talents, and the opportunities that lead to our success.
The world teaches us to get all that we can. God, on the other hand, desires for us to give all that we can.
“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has a need.” –Ephesians 4:28
Louie reminds us that we need to work, not so that we can gain more for ourselves, but so that we can give to others out of the abundance of what we have been given. If we’re really honest, don’t we already have enough?
He challenges us to give, not the required amount, but a generous amount. He calls the tithe the worst thing that has ever happened in America because “we are so proud when we give God a dime on every dollar, and yet our God is so generous towards us!”
We live in a culture which says do the minimum and expect a huge applause for it and God is a God who did the maximum and HE gets almost zero appreciation for it. –Louie Giglio
He challenges us to “turn that around and give generously because our God is a generous God.”
Louie is also quick to remind us that this isn’t always money, but a giving of our heart, time, energies, and resources.
I read somewhere that it shouldn’t be about how much of my money I decide to give to God, but rather to consider how much of God’s money I need to live on so that I may give the rest. I love this mindset. It is a challenge for sure!
I find my motivation to give by picturing the things I want to gain in this life. Then I picture them all burning up before Christ in eternity.
I then imagine the pictures I want to see. My heart longs to see hungry children eating, being cared for, healed, and educated. I want to see slaves being set free in His name and His gospel being spread around the world, both for salvation and for the hope that only knowing Him can bring.
What is it that you want to see in the New Year? How will you be challenged this year to be an active participant in God’s plans?
*All quotes are Louie Giglio and all Bible references are from the New King James Version.
Heather is a follower of Jesus Christ, devoted wife of 22 years to her high school sweetheart, and homeschooling mother of their two teenage boys. She can be found blogging about faith, food, and frugality at www.myoverflowingcup.com
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