Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Give, and It Shall Be Given"

    "One of the Bible's most difficult and challenging truths involves the fact of reciprocity in relationship.

    "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19).
    "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you" (James 4:8).
    "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly" (Proverbs 18:24).

    Generally speaking, we receive in proportion to that which we give in relationships.  This begins with God Himself as He works in the hearts of human beings to lead us to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32).  If we respond, He then must work in us to empower and sustain active fellowship and communication.  "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).  As John declared, "we love Him because He first loved us."  Thus, in the hearts of His trusting children in Christ, our Heavenly Father receives in accordance with that which He gave, and that which He gives.

    Interestingly, however, James teaches that a place remains in our relationship with God whereby He relates to us as we relate to Him.  He comes close as we come close.  Believers possess the Spirit-enabled capacity to make freely chosen determinations to "draw nigh to God."  We make sacrifices in order to commune with Him in the Scriptures and in prayer, perhaps of time, or of sleep, or of other things to which we might devote our attention.  A.W. Tozer once spoke to this point by suggesting the challenging thought that "What we choose to do in our free time says much about the condition of our relationship with God."  Certainly, our brother of old did not mean that we must spend every moment at liberty on our knees, or in the Book.  Most of us, however (including and especially yours truly) would admit that too many opportunities present themselves of which we, as it were, fail to avail.  We miss much by our omission, indeed, we miss the fulfillment of our Lord's promise: "He will draw nigh to you."

     Reciprocity also characterizes human relationships.  Again, we tend to receive in proportion to that which we give.  There are, of course, exceptions to this rule.  Plenty of stinkers roam the earth who will remain cold, aloof, mean, and selfish regardless of our sacrificial attempts to relate.  Most relationships, however, ebb and flow for us in accordance with the current of our own attitudes and actions.  I must be honest with you: my flesh does not rest comfortably with this truth.  The reason is that I must make room always for the possibility that problems with people may well indicate that there are problems with me!  In fact, spiritual and moral diagnosis begins there, or rather, it begins here.  "Search me, o God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts.  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24). 

    No truth more blindingly and blessedly shines forth from the pages of Scripture than the doctrine of reciprocity in relationship.  I'll leave you to your own prayerful thoughts concerning the matter with the final suggestion that the love of Christ provides our hope in this most vital aspect of the privileged responsibility to rightly relate to God and man.  Through His presence and working in our hearts, we may increasingly focus our attention on what we give into relationships, as opposed to what we receive.  This sets our own hearts at peace, enhances our experience of the realized presence of our Heavenly Father, and makes joyful and fulfilling bonds with people far more likely...

"Give, and it shall be given unto you."
(Luke 6:38)

"When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek."
(Psalm 27:8)

Weekly Memory Verse
    For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
(I Corinthians 3:19)

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