Week of June 23
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you a heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26
The very nature of God is to give out of love. And when we as Christians receive the Lord into our hearts, He impacts us so deeply that we can't help but pour out His amazing love everywhere we go. When we show up, so does God.
God makes His point clear in Ezekiel 36:32 where He says He will renew and restore His chosen people and their land for His glory, not because they earn His favor. On the contrary, by their sinful conduct and actions, His chosen people had defiled their nation and their land that was divinely given to them. But because of God's zeal for them and a remnant cry from them, God extended His grace and turned their circumstances around.
Likewise, God loves us even when we feel we don't deserve His love. And we are to model His expressions of love and grace to others through a heart of giving, even to those who offend us. God loved the unlovely, and so must we. But we cannot do it alone. We must ask Him to soften our hearts, to do it for us.
Giving comes naturally from a true heart of love. It is the heart that must be cultivated. Giving is simply the byproduct.
In the marketplace, we face many tests. Sometimes, we are challenged to demonstrate love through acts of giving and kindness to a difficult boss or to cohorts. It helps to remember that they may have become difficult to get along with due to hurts, wounds, injustices, sins and a lack of love in their life, whether self-imposed or inflicted by others. It helps to look beyond their exterior and see into their hearts. And we can ask God to help us see their hearts as He does, to increase within us His vision and His love for them and to break down barriers of fear.
When we have a big heart of God within us, giving out of love is easy, no matter what the behavior of others because we ourselves are overwhelmed with God's very presence of love.
When we are faced with "the unlovely," we must remember two things: We ourselves are only made righteous through Christ Jesus. And God placed "the unlovely" in our path for the purpose of sanctifying our hearts with an increase of His love. In other words, we the Christians need to come up higher in the love department. And when we do, transformation takes place around us as a result of giving out of that love.
It's not enough to hold love in our hearts. We must give it. And when we give, we receive more from God, our divine source, and from others whose hearts cannot help but be touched.
The question is, will we consistently extend love no matter how others behave? If we do, it will change the atmosphere in which we work. If we do, we will not feel controlled by the other people's negative attitudes, comments or actions. Our heart and others' hearts will transform, and this will manifest in a more Godly work environment.
The truth is, through Jesus Christ, we have more power than we realize. God's principles really do work when faithfully put into action. We must not let fear of rejection, fear of authority or intimidation prevents us from giving out of a generous heart of love.
Remember, God rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Heb. 11:6). And God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). May we respond to others from an outpouring of the heart of the Holy Spirit within us, instead of reacting to negativity. Only then will we be able to freely give.
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ.
Originally published Sunday, 23 June 2013.