I appreciated this post from my friend Ron Blue, author of the new book Never Enough?: 3 Keys to Financial Contentment:
In the Bible, Jesus says that Satan comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10). He also says that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). One of the greatest blessings of the body of Christ is its capacity to meet the needs of its members through generosity, service, and sacrifice. When Satan succeeds in destroying this flow of love and grace in the church through his lies, I am sure he rejoices.
Two things can happen when Christians are confronted face to face with need and challenged to give. One, Satan can steal the joy of giving by whispering to us messages of guilt. How many of you ever had to eat your dinner, in full, because someone on the other half of the globe was starving? Probably most of you. I did. Guilt is a powerful motivator, and we let Satan steal the joy of giving when we listen to his lies and believe that we should feel guilty for all that we have and for whom God has made us to be. The fact is: Jesus died because we could never atone for our own guilt before a holy God. When He died, He abolished cause for guilt for a Christian (Romans 8:1) so that we could respond to His grace out of gratitude, not out of guilt. We are also now free to give out of gratitude for His grace and provision, rather than out of guilt for being born in a certain time, into a certain zip code, with a certain set of privileges.
Alternately, we can allow Satan to kill our desire to give when we believe the lie that our finances are just too tight to give anything. When we believe this lie, we forget that God is the source of all material blessing. We begin to worship our money as our source of provision rather than remembering that He owns “the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10). We are to be wise stewards, but the vast majority of Americans can truly afford to be generous materially and with our time. Buying into the lie that giving is a last priority rather than a first priority in our finances robs us of the freedom that results from opening our hand and sharing our resources with the needs that God reveals.
God is a generous and gracious God. We are called to be generous and gracious people. However you encounter need today, I pray that you are free from guilt and from hyper-control when it comes to your financial life. I pray that you experience the joy of giving and find victory over the father of lies.
May God’s peace encourage you as you pursue financial wisdom and depend on His Truth.
For more on money and giving, see Randy’s books The Treasure Principle, Managing God’s Money, and Money, Possessions, and Eternity.
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.