Aug 8, 2011

Live Generously

I have started reading through the Bible again for my daily devotions. For months it seemed that I just could not get it together in that department. I would think of a million excuses for not sitting down and picking up the Bible to read. My most commonly used excuse was, "My brain is too tired, I just want to veg and not think." Or another, "Wasting time on the computer is so much more fun than reading the Bible." For months these excuses worked and my spiritual-life and thought-life suffered for it (not to mention the housework).

Last month my husband began to encourage me to start again. Subtly at first and then a direct encouragement about the difference he saw in my spirit when I was having my relationship-building quiet times with God. I couldn't deny the difference I felt within myself and so I prayed for strength and started again, with the New Testament this time. I am so thankful that God has been drawing me back to a closer walk with Him. He has been faithful in encouraging my heart and giving conviction and challenges left and right.

Most recently the conviction and challenge that has been in my mind the most is from Matthew 5:41-42:
And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life.No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. [Emphasis mine]  
 And further down, in verse 48:
In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. [Emphasis mine]
This is such a huge challenge for me because I can, at times, tend to stew and mull and nit-pick and jump to invalid conclusions.  It can be so hard for me to just let things go. I don't like confrontation at all, in fact I tend to avoid it, to a fault. I would much rather just play the offense over and over in my head so that I can pick apart every detail of it.

These verses and the challenges contained in them came at a time when I really needed them. My prayer has been, "Lord, help me live generously and graciously. Help me let it go." Over and over, fighting the urge to replay the scene(s) in a continual loop. Did I win every single battle? No. But I believe God has the victory and I was able to swallow my pride and just let some things go. And you know what? After a little while, it actually felt good to do so. So often I feel like my emotions dictate the situation and that actually makes me feel out of control and locked into a pattern of "tit-for-tat" mentally. Letting it go felt like I was back under control and it was a relief.

God is so awesome! I love it when he prepares me for situations ahead of time. I love it even more when he reminds me that I am prepared for the battle and gives me his strength to face it.

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