This is part two of a three-part series on Altruism that explores knowing God’s intention for us, how to model Christlike behavior, and how to act in altruistic relationships through the work of the Holy Spirit.
In part 1, we learned that Altruism requires us to know God’s intention for humanity. This is affirmed by His intentional design of us, how we are directed to shine our light and showcase ourselves, and His intention for us to have a cultural mandate for the world. All three of these things show us that we were born, commissioned, and given stewardship to all in the world.
This, as you know, isn’t an easy task, as seen by the global tragedies, struggles, and state of the world. So how is this all possible?
The key is to learn to act and model Christlike behavior, which many of us have put on a back burner, lost, or never learned along the way. All agree that modeling the behavior of Christ seem unsurmountable at time.
But there are ways to master it.
We often hear about our need for “godly behavior” or to be “Christ-like” in our words and actions. But, it is as essential to show and model godly behavior. People model what they see, and quite possibly, no one has seen it nor put the Bible text into action.
We cultivate Christlike attributes of ‘faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, [and] diligence by reading His Word.
Matthew 5:16, (NASB) reminds us to let “Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” We show our good works, the Father is glorified, and we are modeling His behavior.
I was talking to one of our CEOs at a charitable event, and as I thanked him for his time, he said, “It’s easier to write a check than to leave your laptop and do a charitable deed.”
Service to others is a pillar of Christianity. Jesus taught that helping those in need was one of the most important aspects of life for anyone. Jesus went as far as to suggest that people should help others as much as possible.
Luke 12:33-34 tells us, “Sell your possessions and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no their approaches and no moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
So, what are ways to cultivate a Christlike behavior for giving?
- We must have a discipline for giving that comes from His Spirit.
2nd Timothy 1:7 tells us, For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” God created us with a body to contact the physical realm, a soul to contact the psychological realm, and a spirit to contact the spiritual realm. Our human spirit, the deepest part of our being, can contact and receive God. We were born of the Spirit when we first believed in Jesus Christ. The Lord, as the life-giving Spirit, came into and was mingled with our Spirit. After we’re born again, our Christian life continuously contacts the Lord, fellowshipping with Him, receiving more of Him, and living by Him. We develop disciples through praying to the Lord and staying in His word.
- We must have a spirit for giving, and that means having the Spirit of Love
Ephesians 3:17-19 tells us that “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in Love, may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know Christ’s Love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
God’s chosen dwelling seat is the inner being of man’s heart. It is not the thinking brain, the articulate tongue, or the various senses – it is the heart that is the inner being of our new nature in Christ. Being grounded and rooted in love prepares us to know the love of Christ, surpassing all knowledge. Lack of love leads to divisions and rivalry and will take us away from what God intends for us. God has ordained that we should be His dwelling place. Once we have the love of Christ, it will be shown in our giving. Remember that love is the preeminent, greatest, never-failing first fruit of the Spirit, against which there is no law. Love for people was why the Lord Jesus went to the cross of Calvary. And when we are rooted and grounded in Christ, we are rooted and grounded in HIS love.
- We must remember what God has entrusted to us
God created the world and entrusted us to care for it. 2nd Corinthians 9 tells us. “Learning to be generous with God naturally leads you to be that cheerful giver God loves.”
One of the most incredible lines in this text says that God can perfectly replenish whatever you give, so you can be generous on all occasions, which will result in thanksgiving to God. Scripture never mandates a specific amount each Christian or church must give. Paul even refuses to name a percentage of income or belongings for us to give. Instead, God’s work sets a standard according to what each person has decided to give. God wants Christians to do good works, and He will provide all that is needed to do so. God is the provider. He is the one who distributes freely to the poor. Giving as a Christlike act of grace is about more than meeting the physical needs of those who lack. It also causes thankfulness to God to overflow. It builds connections between believers who give and those who receive. He provides both the seed and the bread.
In the final series, part 3, I will explore how to act in altruistic relationships through the work of the Holy Spirit.