No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

 

As will be seen, generously does not necessarily mean give away lots of money, it may mean spend your time, spend your love, spend your forgiveness, spend your refusal to take offense.

  “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ 44 I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer

Bring out the best in you.  You want to retaliate when crossed.  Instead reach down into the reserves given by the Holy Spirit and respond in kindness, gentleness, love, forbearance, agreeing with your adversary, refusing to take offense. 

for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best – the sun to warm and the rain to nourish – to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.

Like that, my true self!! I am capable because God created me so.  I simply need to remember that!!!  It is God’s nature – I’m created in His image!! I can rain love and smiles on everyone, even the one that growls…I can give them my best and refuse to take offense.

  If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. 47 If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. 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.

Christians are to be different.  That is be different, not look different.  They are to act differently. That doesn’t mean a list of do’s and don’ts, it means we don’t react like expected.  Now this is difficult.  Baby cries when baby isn’t fed right now!!! Baby cries when you take the toy away!!! Baby stomps feet and screams when crossed!!!  And we never grow up.  As adults, take my parking place,  hmmmm…, or cut in front of me, hmmmm…., or talk to me in that tone of voice, hmmmm…. Christ said, ‘Grow up.’

Live generously does not always and only  mean give away your money; it means have large reserves of love, compassion, forgiveness, forbearance, so that you can return evil with good.  The next person who crosses you; smile, love them, agree with the adversary, be generous with your good-will–wishing them well — only possible if you have large reserves and that comes with the Holy Spirit’s rainwaters and love every morning for our day’s supply!  We must do the same each evening to enjoy the sweet peace and rest of our Lord.  Breath prayer – I will not take offense, I will react in an opposite way to that expected of me.  I will live generously toward others.

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Holiness in the body

This is a departure from the usual take on these verses.  What do you think?

  A prudent [man] foresees evil [and] hides himself; The simple pass on [and] are punished.

Proverbs 27:12

The wise see evil ahead and remove themselves from the place of temptation.  They leave!  The unwise stay and fall victim, then receive the consequences for their inaction.

 

If I see a situation is tempting me to do something I prefer not to thanks to the Spirit’s prompting, I leave.  One area is gossip in the workplace.  Many times I walk away rather than participate.  Sometimes I’m not so wise and engage in the conversation only to experience the conviction later.  Sometimes the words that are spoken come back to haunt me.

Romans 13:14  

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to [fulfill its] lusts.

Spend time in the Word, get to know Jesus so you can emulate him.  Provide sustenance for the spirit’s growth, not for the carnal nature. 

 

Where is my time spent?  In the word or satisfying selfish desires.  Trading time to play games rather than study the word, would be one example.  A constant battle to achieve a balance that pleases the spirit not the flesh.  Another would be other media entertainment or outside entertainment.  The point is to not give up time in the Word for time in entertainment of any type.  The point is not the avoidance of all play, where is the emphasis?, the focus, the desire?

2 Timothy 2:22  

Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Lets see, youthful lusts:  the “me” time of life, what serves my purpose, putting others down, scuffling over what I want and often turns to words that are hurtful and blows, more concerned if I am first, focus on what happens to me.  My students provide a good picture of this.  They struggle with preferring others, saying only kind words, not bragging.

 

So in my life, I still have struggles with a large ‘me’ complex.  When stories are shared, I must insert mine rather than just listen and enjoy and encourage.  Fear can enter quickly as in driving in the snow rather than having faith that God has protected me, is protecting me and will protect me.  Loving those who rub you the wrong way.  There are those at work who seem to constantly say things that are disparaging, or seemingly disrespectful.  On closer examination, they are not maliciously maligning, they are used by the enemy to create offense in us.  This is my struggle. 

 

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.

 

And do not present your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness to God.

Romans 6:12-13

Holiness in the body is putting yourself last.  The closer we get to the Lord, the more we know Him, the more we love Him and our desires become His.  When I give in to what I want to do to satisfy my own desires whatever they may be, use of time is most basic, I am once again putting myself under the law and subject to the wages of sin is death.  When I am focused and driven by what He wants I am operating in freedom.  It doesn’t mean doing without, it means being in touch with his will in my life.

I John 3:1-9 – What is Sin?

 

No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him…he who does  what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.  He who does what is sinful is of the devil.  No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.  “

This begs the question – – What is sin? According to the Word, not according to mankind.

 

 

Romans 14:23

 everything that does not come from faith is sin.

I John 3

sin is lawlessness

I John 5

 all wrongdoing is sin.

 

Summary: 

Love is the command that drives all others.  God first, neighbor second.  If any action or word intends to or does hurt another it is sin because it breaks the commandment to love.  Putting God and others first indicates love, and obedience to God’s commands reflects love.  Putting yourself first breaks the command to love.  Breaking the command, ignoring the command, disobeying the command is sin.

 

Three words are used repeatedly to describe sin in the Old Testament and the New, both Hebrew and Greek: fault, offend, and trespass.  All indicate an uncaring attitude for another.  That attitude would indicate lack of true love for another.  The lack of love indicates not knowing God, lack of his seed in us, according to John.

 

This is vastly different from my exposure to a list of do’s and don’ts.  What I need to be constantly aware of is my language, are my words, my actions, my thoughts indicating love for God and others.  If not, I need to do some repenting and ask forgiveness.  At this point I am no longer concerned with whether something is sin, but rather with whether or not I am expressing love, the love that God has given me, the love his seed in me expresses toward others.

 What are your thoughts?  How do you determing what is sin?

The research, I used Blue Letter Bible:

OLD TESTAMENT Terms:  (Hebrew)

ashmah –trespass, sin, offend, trespass offering

 chet’    sin, faults, grievously, offences

`avon   iniquity, punishment, fault, Iniquities, mischief, sin

 pesha`  transgression, trespass, sin, rebellion

 NEW TESTAMENT terms: (Greek)

 hamartanō   sin, trespass, offend, for your faults

 Paraptōma     trespass, offence, sin, fall, fault 

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/search/lexiconc.cfm?Criteria=sin&st=any&x=10&y=7>