Generosity is about more than just giving. It’s changing the way you think about and manage your resources.
Proverbs says, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want” (11:24). Ecclesiastes warns against the love of money because it will never satisfy (Eccl 5:10). But the reason we should be generous is that nothing we own really belongs to us.
Everything we have belongs to God (Ps 24:1). We are just managing God’s resources.
Jesus taught about money and possessions a lot. He warned, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). Instead, we should store our treasures in heaven, because our hearts follow our treasure (Matt 6:19-21). If we are not careful, the cares of the world and riches will creep into our lives and keep us from God. So Jesus asks, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matt 16:26). Put simply, “You cannot serve God and money” (Matt 6:24).
The problem is not the riches; it’s our attitude towards money. We need to learn to be content no matter how much money we have (1 Tim 6:6). So Paul teaches the rich to “be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share” (1 Tim 6:17-18). Plus, giving must be done with the right attitude, because “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7).
While most Americans today spend more than they make, those who practice generosity must discipline themselves to live with less. This frees more of our time, money and possessions to be given back to God.
SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES #11. CHASTITY
Flee from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18).
Chastity is a discipline because all of our natural inclinations draw us towards sexual immorality. We must be disciplined to flee it and pursue pure thoughts and actions.
Chastity does not mean celibacy, although celibacy is a calling for some. It means freely enjoying God’s good gift of sex within the bounds of marriage, as God created it to be (1 Cor 7:1-5). But unless we are married, chastity requires abstinence (Acts 15:20).
The Bible’s teaching on chastity can be summed up in the seventh commandment: “You shall not commit adultery” (Exod 20:14). But Jesus takes the commandment a step further.
He says, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:28). So not only does chastity include not committing the physical act of adultery, but it is also about resisting the underlying root of lust.
“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away,” Jesus continues. “For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell” (Matt 5:29). While I doubt Jesus was asking those listening to literally excavate their eyeballs, he intended this point to be strong. It is better to be blind than to burn.