Every person, whether young or old, rich or poor, desires to go further in life than where they are today. Every Christian, no matter age or how long they have been saved, carries within them a desire to go deeper in the things of God, drawing closer to Him than ever before. That being said, how is this possible? How can we go further in life and experience growth in our relationship with God?
THERE IS A GREATER COST TO A GREATER LIFE
“You cannot afford to wait for perfect conditions. Goal setting is often a matter of balancing timing against available resources. Opportunities are easily lost while waiting for perfect conditions.”
–Gary Ryan Blair
Many people would do more in life if their excuses allowed them to. We do not wake up early enough to pray or read our bible because we are too exhausted from the other things in our lives that have become a greater priority. We do not have the house, the car, or the life we desire because of the other things that we have had to give our time and money to. The list of excuses to why you are not where you desire to be could go on and on. The life you desire to live will never happen until you start living it now. There is a greater cost to a greater life. I am so thankful that God did not wait until we were worthy of receiving Jesus in order to send Him.
John 3:16 (KJV)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
God saw that we needed Him to intervene at the very condition that we were in. The same is true today. We need God to intervene in the condition that we are in right now, not one day. This scripture is one of the best scriptures that reveals the heart of sacrifice. When it comes to sacrifice, it never happens in the midst of convenience. In order to go further in life, it will cost you more than you have currently been doing. God set the ultimate example for us to follow. In order to get what you want, it will cost you more than your flesh is willing to give. In God’s case, it cost Him what was most precious and valuable to Him. I believe it is to be the same with us. God gave because of His love for us. In return, we are to give because of our love for Him.
DOING MORE HAS A PURPOSE
God would never ask for more of you if He didn’t have a purpose for it. In the book of John we see Jesus describing to us how to get to the Father.
John 6:44 (KJV)
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…
John 14:6 (KJV)
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Jesus is the way to get to the Father. Jesus said in John 6:44 that no one can even come to Him unless God draws them to Him. We know that we cannot get to God unless we go through Jesus, but we cannot get to Jesus unless God leads us to Him. All this time, God Himself is trying to get us closer to Him. When it comes to God, He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit and His Word. That being said, if the Holy Spirit or God’s Word asks you to do something, refusing to would be a direct rebellion against God Himself. John 16:13 tells us that the Holy Spirit Himself will only speak to us what the Father has told Him to say. If the Holy Spirit is speaking to you, understand that God Himself told Him whatever it was that He just said to you. The Holy Spirits voice will always line up with God’s Word. The Holy Spirit would never prompt you to do something that was going to harm you. He will always prompt you to do something that will bring you closer to the Father. That’s His job, to draw you to the Father. During worship He will prompt you to lift your hands. During a trial He will prompt you to lift up a shout of triumph. During a time of great need He will prompt you to sow a financial seed. Every single prompting has your best interest in mind, and a path that leads you closer to the Father.
LESS IS NOT MORE
Anyone who achieves something of great success did not get there by doing something normal. Extraordinary measures create extraordinary results. A sacrifice has never been described as easy. Going beyond your comfort level is when you know it has been a sacrifice. Athletes, who want to be the best, train different than most people who use sports as a hobby. Olympic gold medalists push themselves beyond what seems like “good enough”, and into a place of extreme discomfort. Doing this enables them to receive far greater results than someone who has just done what is required, or just enough to get by. You do not win the gold medal being like everyone else. The same is true when it comes to financially sowing into the Kingdom of God. Giving beyond your comfort level is when you know it has been a sacrifice.
Definition of sacrifice:
The surrender of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.
Many people will sacrifice money for something that they like or that benefits them. But when it comes to the Kingdom of God, they have a hard time sacrificing anything at all. Money has a controlling agent to it. To some people it controls their every move, to others, they use it to control others every move. God uses money as a tool to further His purpose here on this earth. He also uses it as a gauge of where our heart is concerning His Kingdom.
THE HEART GAUGE
Matthew 6:21 (KJV)
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthew 6:21 (CEV)
Your heart will always be where your treasure is.
Matthew 6:21 (Good News Translation)
For your heart will always be where your riches are.
Matthew 6:21 (MSG)
The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
It is a proven fact that we invest our money in the things that matter the most to us. People will go without so that they can have something they desire, however, many will not go without so that God can give them what He desires. I encourage you to take inventory of your heart. On a scale of 1-10, financially speaking, where does God register in your life? If your predictions were around a 5 or less, it’s a good sign that your whole heart is not in the Kingdom.
“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” –Thomas Jefferson
It never seems like a good time to make a sacrifice. Giving until it hurts produces receiving until you can’t take it anymore (Malachi 3:10). As you allow the Holy Spirit to draw you closer to the Father, understand that you will have many opportunities to be mediocre. The ones who are closet to God are the ones who push past mediocrity and enter into a life a sacrifice. People often judge their own life by their good intentions. God judges our lives by our heart. You may think your heart is with God, but does He? God has a gauge for measuring the condition of our hearts. Determine this year to make the necessary adjustments to register on God’s heart gauge.