We’ve looked at giving yourself to God first, giving in response to Jesus’ gift, giving with sincere desire and love, giving under grace instead of a commandment, giving as much as you are able or even more, and giving so that there may be equality. The next aspect of New Covenant Giving we’ll look at is giving joyfully and cheerfully. God wants us to give with joy. He desires a sacrifice of giving accompanied with a right heart. Our giving does not please Him if we do it only because we feel that we must.
Joy in Christ Produces Sacrificial Giving
Contentment and joy in Christ lead us to sacrificial giving. When we put Christ first and seek God’s kingdom we break the control of materialism and greed over our lives. Once our lives revolve around serving God completely, He is able to make the power of His Spirit abound in us. It is only then that we can truly produce the fruit of the Spirit. The grace of generous giving will abound in us when we find joy in following Christ and view our lives in light of eternity – when we realize that our eternal life is much more important than this life.
It was in this way the Macedonian churches were able to give so generously – even beyond their ability. Their abundant joy in Christ led them to give much more than anyone could have expected. This is the power of God at work in Christians.
1 Moreover, brothers, we make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the assemblies of Macedonia; 2 how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality. 3 For according to their power, I testify, yes and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord, 4 begging us with much entreaty to receive this grace and the fellowship in the service to the saints.
2 Corinthians 8:1-4 (WEB)
Without the overflowing joy of Christ we cannot give with God’s generosity. We cannot expect sacrificial giving from someone who does not have the joy of Christ living in them. Their life is still rooted in this world, and they will value earthly treasures above heavenly treasures. Even the most profuse gift from them will be meaningless because they will be giving out of the wrong motives. In fact, unless we give out of joy our gift does not even please God.
God Loves Cheerful Giving
God doesn’t want us to give because we feel we must. He wants us to give cheerfully – out of love and joy. That is why Paul tells the Corinthians that we should give as we have decided in our heart:
Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart; not grudgingly, or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7 (WEB)
God doesn’t want us to give because we know we should. God doesn’t want us to give generously to try to please Him. He wants us to love from a pure heart and to find our joy in Him. He knows that sacrificial giving will follow a true sacrifice of the self. This is why He has said:
For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Hosea 6:6 (WEB)
This idea is so important that Jesus quoted this same Scripture when he replied to the Pharisees who were so careful to observe the Law but did not have God’s love in them. We must find our joy and contentment in Christ before we try to change our outward ways. Only when that is true can we please God with our giving.
If you find yourself struggling with contentment in Christ, I highly recommend you check out my free e-book Contentment Is Wealth. You’ll learn why we should seek contentment and power it can have in our lives.