Listen:  152.5

The “secret” is to be found in one word: LOVE! The LOVE of God is the force behind true, sacrificial giving. The most famous verse in the Bible confirms this, for John 3:16 says, “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.” It was God’s LOVE for the world that compelled Him to GIVE the greatest sacrifice of all, His beloved Son.

The word “love” in this verse is the Greek word AGAPAO. Mr. W. E. Vine, in his expository dictionary, says that “In respect of agapao as used of God, it expresses the deep and constant love and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects.” In other words, God’s LOVE is “unconditional”; it doesn’t depend on us being “lovable.” This love is inherent in God’s nature, for 1 John 4:8 tells us that “God is love.” And because He is love, He is a GIVING God. 1 John 4:10 also illustrates this, for it reads, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

For those of us who have been born-again into God’s family, we now have God’s love abiding in us and thus we have the capacity for “sacrificial giving.” Consider these words from Ephesians 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (NKJV). As children of God, we are to imitate God by walking in love…the same sacrificial love that Christ demonstrated when He gave Himself for us on the cross. The apostle John puts it this way in 1 John 3:16, “Hereby we perceive the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” We may not be called to literally lay down our life in death for our brothers and sisters in Christ, but we should be willing to sacrifice our time, energy, talents, and even money in serving our brethren. God’s LOVE in us leads us to give ourselves to others! And this will not be limited to loving other Christians, but would include showing God’s love to all men. Galatians 6:10 states, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

So, we have learned that the LOVE of God in us is the “secret of sacrificial giving,” but is there a “secret” to “tapping into this love?” I ask this because even though believers have a new nature we also have the old, corrupt nature of sin that we inherited from Adam. How do we keep the old nature from rearing its ugly head so that the new nature can manifest the love of God to others? Let’s consider 1 John 4:19 which says, “We love, because He first loved us.” We have a grand principle in this verse, for it is really teaching us that GOD’S LOVE FOR US DRAWS OUT OUR HEARTS IN LOVE TO OTHERS! When we first saw the truth of verses like John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16, we were born again and starting loving God and others. As we continue to meditate on God’s love for us, His love flows out of our hearts like a natural spring!  When John wrote his gospel he referred to himself SIX TIMES as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” John wasn’t occupied with “his love for the Lord,” but with “Jesus’ love for him!” This is the focus we need, dear fellow-believer. For if we can zero in constantly on God’s love for us PERSONALLY, we will, without effort, find ourselves loving others, and showing that love by sacrificial giving. Let’s close these meditations with the words of the apostle Paul in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”  (152.5)  (DO)